Milan fashion week: Luxury brands to return to the runway in September

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Luxury fashion brands namely Giorgio Armani, Fendi, Prada and Versace are all returning to the runway in September, according to the Milan Fashion Week SS ‘21 calendar.

After the coronavirus pandemic pushed many fashion houses to go digital and make online-only presentations in July, more than half of participating Milan fashion houses are making plans to present in-person previews for Spring-Summer 2021.

Due to ongoing Covid-19 precautions, including social distancing, mandatory mask requirements, as well as some travel restrictions, fashion houses have indicated that seating will be more limited than usual at next month’s shows.

In this Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019 file photo, models wear creations as part of the Fendi Spring-Summer 2020 collection, unveiled during the fashion week, in Milan, Italy.

In this Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019 file photo, models wear creations as part of the Fendi Spring-Summer 2020 collection, unveiled during the fashion week, in Milan, Italy. ( AP Photo/Luca Bruno, File )

Italy was the first country outside of Asia to report locally transmitted coronavirus cases, which appeared during the February runway shows in the Lombardy region that includes Milan. Closing the week that saw the fashion crowd packed as usual into to tight venues, Giorgio Armani took his collection online, with models parading the collection in an empty theatre as the show streamed live around the globe.

Many brands followed suit for this summer’s menswear presentations too. Dolce&Gabbana and Etro were the only Milan designers to invite guests to physical shows. But fashion industry officials acknowledged that digital proved a poor substitute to the actual fashion show.

In this Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020 file photo, Miuccia Prada acknowledges the applauses at the end of her Prada women's Fall-Winter 2020-2021 fashion show, that was presented in Milan, Italy.

In this Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020 file photo, Miuccia Prada acknowledges the applauses at the end of her Prada women's Fall-Winter 2020-2021 fashion show, that was presented in Milan, Italy. ( AP Photo/Luca Bruno, File )

Luxury fashion is adapting to the Covid-19 pandemic by shifting runway shows onto digital platforms. The only other option would have been to cancel the fashion season altogether, a tough choice for an industry that in Italy alone is expected to suffer a 20%-30% drop in revenues this year, from 67 billion euros ($76 billion) as compared to last year. So the focus now is to stanch losses and maintain ties with consumers, and a spotlight on digital displays given the necessity to maintain social distance, according to a previous report by the Associated Press.

In all, 28 fashion houses plan to stage live shows and another 24 will participate in the Sept. 23-28 Milan Fashion Week through digital shows.

In this Saturday, Jan.11, 2019 file photo, designer Giorgio Armani, center, accepts applause at the conclusion of the Emporio Armani men's Fall-Winter 2020/21 collection, that was presented in Milan, Italy.

In this Saturday, Jan.11, 2019 file photo, designer Giorgio Armani, center, accepts applause at the conclusion of the Emporio Armani men's Fall-Winter 2020/21 collection, that was presented in Milan, Italy. ( AP Photo/Luca Bruno, File )

Dolce&Gabbana, Salvatore Ferragamo, Max Mara and Marni will also be present physically, along with other brands like No. 21, Sunnei, Drome and MSGM. Missoni, DSquared2 and GCDS are among those opting for a digital presence.

Gucci announced that it would seek its own fashion rhythms outside of established calendars, and such Milan stalwarts as Jil Sander and Bottega Veneta.

-- with inputs from Associated Press

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