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.
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye