Italians are gearing up to vote on Feb. 24-25, at the tail end of Milan Fashion Week, to determine the 630 members of the Chamber of Deputies and the 315 elective members of the Senate, the two houses of the Italian Parliament. The election will determine the composition of the 17th Parliament of the Italian Republic and its Prime Minister.
In a difficult economy, hurt by crimped consumer spending and high unemployment, the fashion industry is keeping an eye on the elections, concerned with issues such as tax rates, the banking system and access to credit and laws to promote exports. Here, a look at who's in the running.
The unshakeable thrice Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, president of center-right The People of Freedom party, founder of media giant Fininvest, which controls publishing house Mondadori, and owner of Milan soccer team. Among the main points of Berlusconi’s program:
• Suppression of a city tax called IMU and return of the money spent for IMU tax, which had been introduced by former Prime Minister Mario Monti.
• Lower policy administration costs.
• More independence from the European Union.
• Federal Reform.
• The re-launch of Southern Italy economy.
• Support of the “Traditional Family” founded on the marriage between a man and a woman.
• Fiscal reform.
• Bank reform.
• Support to enterprises.
• Development of Tourism.
• Development and replacement of Italian transports.
Berlusconi’s main opponent:Pier Luigi Bersani, head of the Democratic Party, a former Minister of Economic Development, Minister of Transport and Navigation, and Minister of Industry and Commerce. The party’s main issues:
• Lower policy administration costs.
• Review of the IMU tax.
• Gay rights — civil union proposal.
• Women’s rights — more opportunities for women.
• Green economy and care of environment.
• Investments of 50 billion euros ($66 billion at current exchange) in Italian enterprises.
• More jobs and more investments for schools and hospitals.
Former Prime Minister Mario Monti of moderate Civic Choice and a former Minister of Economy and Finance and European Commissioner. The party’s priorities are:
• Work Reform — Fight temporary employment.
• Lower taxes.
• Reduce the number of the Members of Parliament.
• Remove taxes on women’s work.
• Reform the schools.
The outsider, former comedian and actor, activist Beppe Grillo, founder of left-wing Five Star Movement, whose main goals are:
• Parliament Reform.
• More power to the Italian citizen.
• Energy reforms.
• More access to technology (free Internet).
Magistrate Antonio Ingroia of left-party Civil Action. After working with the Antimafia pool of the late magistrates Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, who were killed in 1992 by the Mafia, in 2009 he became deputy chief anti-mafia prosecutor of Palermo. Civil Action’s program:
• Fight against economic and financial oligarchy.
• Increased attention to fight Mafia.
• Recognition of people’s rights — gay marriage — and women equality.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast