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Missoni presents the 'normal life' at Milan

The Italian brand kicked off the virtual fashion week, with models re-enacting social gatherings in sparkling knits, loose trouser suits and long dresses

A model presents a creation from the Missoni Fall/Winter 2021/2022 women's collection during a livestreamed show at Milan Fashion Week in Milan, Italy, in this picture released on February 24, 2021. Missoni/Handout via REUTERS - ATTENTION EDITORS THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO ARCHIVES. NO RESALES. MANDATORY CREDIT. (via REUTERS)

Italian brand Missoni kicked off the first day of Milan Fashion Week on Wednesday, with designers once again forced to swap the buzzing catwalks for digital presentations due to the covid-19 pandemic.

A year after Italy registered its first positive case of the coronavirus in the north, leading to the first lockdown in Europe, designers have had to find new ways to entice fashionistas with their creations.

Known for its zig-zag "Fiammato", or flamed, pattern and colourful designs, Missoni was the first fashion house to stream a video of its latest womenswear, blending clothes for autumn/winter with those for spring/summer.

Filmed earlier in February at Milan's Assago Forum, a venue that has been shut for months, models re-enacted social gatherings from bowling games to catch-ups with friends.

They wore sparkling knits, loose trouser suits, long ribbed dresses and casual wear in an array of colours.

Some donned hats, scarves and jackets, while others modelled swimwear in the video, which was filmed as if in one continuous shot.

There were crop tops, shorts and glittering party wear as well in what the Italian fashion house described as "a celebration of the return to a normal social life".

"With this project, I wanted to sum up one year of work in the length of a song, creating a content that is emotional but also accessible from different digital devices," creative director Angela Missoni said in a statement.

"I mixed and matched pieces from different seasons to highlight the concept of wardrobe, since Missoni delivers items that are conceived to last, accompanying every woman in her life and becoming part of her memories."

It was during last February's Milan Fashion Week that the town of Codogno, about an hour's drive from Milan, was closed off as the virus took hold in the Lombardy region, which became the worst-hit in Italy.

This season's Milan Fashion Week runs until 1 March, with brands such as Armani, Prada, Valentino and Dolce & Gabbana sharing their collections videos on a digital platform.

There is hope the arrival of vaccines will lead to a fashion bounce-back.

Italy's National Chamber of Fashion has set up a dedicated online hub for the week's events, which include 68 shows and 65 collection presentations.

Wednesday kicked off with "We Are Made In Italy", an event by the Black Lives Matter in Italian Fashion collective, which has been pushing for greater diversity in the industry.

The last Milan Fashion Week, in September, reached more than 43 million views on the event's exclusive streaming channel, with partners including the New York Times and China's Tencent Video relaying the footage worldwide.

According to analysis by media monitor DMR, the shows also reached more than 600 million users on social media.

The National Chamber of Fashion released a Fashion Economic Trends study earlier this month, looking at various factors that could shape the industry's recovery in the medium to long term.

In the most optimistic scenario, a successful mass vaccination campaign and strong support for businesses as they emerge from the crisis could lead to growth of around 15 percent, the report predicted.

But if restrictions on commercial and social life continue until 2022 as authorities struggle to stamp out the virus, the bounce back could be limited to six percent growth, it said.

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