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The new year will start with a 'phygital' show

Over 35 brands will showcase physical and digital presentations at the Milan Fashion Week for the Autumn/Winter 2021 season

A creation from the Moncler Autumn/Winter 2020 collection during Milan Fashion Week in Italy in February, before covid-19 wreaked havoc. (REUTERS)

MILAN (AP) — Dolce & Gabbana, Fendi and Etro are planning to stage live runway shows, previewing menswear collections next month during a mostly digital Milan Fashion Week.

Ermenegildo Zegna is set to open the five days of previews scheduled for 15-19 January. Many top brands already decided to show combined menswear and womenswear collections during the February shows normally dedicated to womenswear.

In all, 37 brands will participate in January, just five with live shows. K-way and Solid Homme will make their Milan runway debuts, rounding out the live participants.

Fashion councils have been struggling during the coronavirus pandemic to maintain runway shows, which are central to the fashion system both for creating excitement around the collections and giving buyers the chance to see the latest looks up close.

The men's previews will be the third mixed digital-physical fashion week organized by the Italian National Fashion Chamber.

“The entire fashion supply chain is suffering the consequences of the pandemic, not only at an Italian level, but also at a global level," Milan’s top official for jobs policy, Cristina Tajani, said. "But we are convinced that (the fashion) sector is one of the fundamental pillars on which to construct the country’s relaunch," Tajani added.

Taking 'phygital' forward

The Milan Fashion Week in September 2020 was also a phygital affair. The hybrid live-virtual formula meant anyone from their homes could watch delightful videos like Moschino’s marionette fashion show, created with the help of Jim Henson Studios, and featured models wearing tiny Moschino creations while Anna Wintour and other top fashion editors nodded from the front row.

But even those who did virtual shows acknowledged that no video and no photos can replace the energy generated by a live runway show.

Fendi, Dolce&Gabbana, Max Mara, Salvatore Ferragamo and Valentino were among the top fashion houses who kept a physical presence in the September round, despite the absence of editors and buyers from major markets like the United States and Asia.

Those who did make it to Milan got to see fashion without being squeezed on both sides, while also submitting to frequent temperature taking at doors, mandatory mask wearing and the signing of many covid-19 liability waivers.

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