May 6, 2020 / 5:22 PM / a month ago

Men's Milan Fashion Week slips to July in digital-only format due to coronavirus

MILAN (Reuters) - The Men’s Milan Fashion Week set for June will be postponed to mid-July and presented in purely digital format with photos and video to avoid the risk of coronavirus contagion, Italy’s national fashion chamber said on Wednesday.

The COVID-19 crisis first hit China - a major market for luxury goods - late last year before spreading around the world, leading to lockdowns to contain the spread of the highly infectious respiratory disease.The fashion industry has been hard hit by coronavirus-induced closures of shops and the halt to international travel.

Italy’s Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana (CNMI) announced the first “Milan Digital Fashion Week”, saying brands will present men’s spring/summer 2021 collections and men’s and women’s pre-collections on a digital platform with photo and video content organised in a calendar with slots for each label.

The move was taken to help companies reach out to buyers and promote their brands without person-to-person contact that risked spreading the coronavirus anew.

Fashion groups may also decide to join shows and presentations planned for the September Women’s Fashion Week, which for the time being is still planned to include catwalks and non-digital events.

The CNMI decision echoes one by the British Fashion Council to merge womenswear and menswear collections for June’s London Fashion Week into one platform and present them in digital form only.

Giorgio Armani Group said separately on Wednesday that the Giorgio Armani and Emporio Armani men’s and women’s collections would be shown in Milan in September, although the format has not yet been determined.

His haute couture brand runway show, Armani Privé, will be postponed to January 2021 and will be held in Milan, not in Paris where it usually takes place, with a “seasonless” collection, it added.

Italy has suffered the world’s third highest death toll from the coronavirus pandemic, with the great majority of fatalities in the wealthy north, the hub of its fashion industry.

Reporting by Claudia Cristoferi; Editing by Mark Heinrich

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