China centre stage at Milan Fashion Week opening
On Tuesday evening, the Milan Fashion Week brought up the curtain on the ready-to-wear catwalk shows for the Fall/Winter 2020-21 with an event dedicated to China. Local authorities and national politicians, as well as the representatives of the Italian fashion industry, came out in force to express their unambiguous solidarity with the Asian country, hit hard by the coronavirus epidemic.
As the audience took over La Permanente, a neo-classical palazzo and exhibition venue and also the new headquarters of the Milan Fashion Week, each guest was given a badge bearing the phrase ‘China We Are With You’, the slogan of the campaign in support of China launched by the Italian Fashion Chamber (CNMI) on Tuesday night.
The slogan was also featured on huge posters put up in the building’s various halls. During the Fashion Week, La Permanente is hosting several catwalk shows, as well as the Fashion Hub Market, a showroom focusing on emerging designers, from China in particular. Though not exclusively so, as it also showcases a cohort of emerging labels from Italy, Hungary and Africa.
At the start of the evening, CNMI President Carlo Capasa, Italy’s under-secretary for foreign affairs Ivan Scalfarotto, and Milan city councillor Cristina Tajani, in charge of labour, business and manufacturing policies, including fashion and design, gave speeches in English to reaffirm their commitment in support of China.
Scalfarotto notably underlined that China is “a very important partner for Italy,” and said he deeply regretted the lack of Chinese visitors in Milan this week. Usually, about 1,000 between buyers, journalists and designers from China come to Milan for the Fashion Week, but nearly 80% of them were unable to travel this time because of the coronavirus.
During the fashion week, CNMI is planning to broadcast video conferences and other content on the various shows, to enable the fashion aficionados and professionals who had to remain in China to experience more closely the Fashion Week atmosphere.
The evening then continued with the show by Han Wen, one of the eight emerging labels selected for the Fashion Hub Market this season, thanks to the support of Chinese retail giant Chic Group, via its Sino-Italian Fashion Town platform. The other labels are Xun Ruo, Leaf Xia, Pinhui Zhao, Emma Sweet, Zijue, Dot Minute and Shengyi Liu.
Wen is a young designer born on southern China’s Hainan Island, keenly interested in model-making. He launched his label in 2016 in New York, after moving there to study at the Parsons School of Design. For next winter, Wen has created a series of sexy, power-woman looks, featuring shiny patent-leather thigh-high boots, trouser suits and miniskirts tasselled with golden and silver chains in pure 80s disco mood, or dark velvet overcoats cinched at the waist by colourful belts.
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