MILAN — The creativity was high and the mood was improved at Mifur.
The four-day fair that ended here March 9 reaped positive results. Attendance was up 8.6 percent to 15,515 visitors, marked by a 12 percent increase in international attendance, with particular spikes coming from the U.S. and Eastern Europe with 25.6 percent and 22.3 percent gains, respectively, from the same time last year. Asia also showed encouraging upturns, as attendance from Japan (prior to the March 11 earthquake and tsunami) grew 45.9 percent and Hong Kong showed a 45.4 percent upswing.
Opening night on March 6 kicked off with a runway show displaying a dozen new styles from 13 prominent Mifur exhibitors, including Oscar de la Renta, Tsoukas Bros and Ciolini. The fall-winter 2011-12 previews consisted of fur jackets and vests, followed by an all-accessories grand finale of hats, purses, legwarmers and scarves.
“For the collections, every designer is using new innovations, which make the final pieces diverse, light, and practical,” said Mifur president and founder Norberto Albertalli. “The designers used many solid techniques and have a good sense of the product and manufacturing process so that there are many striking pieces from each collection, and in this aspect, there’s a feeling of confidence.”
Innovations and new entries were discernible from many of the more than 200 exhibitors, a mix of established labels and up-and-coming talents.
“Mifur is the biggest fur show so obviously it’s a great opportunity if you want to show your collection outside of the fashion shows,” said Mariana Thompson, sales agent from the Milan Oscar de la Renta showroom, Sari Spazio.
De la Renta showed about 70 pieces split into two lines. The Signature Collection consisted of classic, solid pieces that Thompson said, “sold well in the American market during the recession,” while the Fashion Collection had more exclusive pieces such as a natural Barguzin sable vest with suede trim from Russia, a pelt once reserved exclusively for Russian czars. The long, swing-back, silk-belt vest retails for $98,000 and highlights the motion trend of fall-winter 2011-12, where experimental cuts in fur create new movements.
Meticulous embroidery and bold colors were seen throughout many of the other collections — monochromatic swaths of red and green fur at Mala Mati and sparkling jewels mixed with stark, black mink and white raccoon at Avanti.
Additional experimentation with fur as a malleable material was seen in the pleated mini dresses at Braschi, the dramatic mixes of waffle cashmere blends with fur at Igor Gulyaev Fur Collection, the tasseled fur jackets at Vinicio Pajaro and the shaggy coats at Mazzi Overwear.
Cristiano Burani Furs chose Mifur to inaugurate its first collection of 50 styles, not including accessories. The line was licensed to Albertalli, a firm of fourth-generation furriers. Giovanni Albertalli of Albertalli, who is responsible for the Burani line, noted that buyers had been coming from Russia, Asia and Northern Europe. For its first collection, a new lining technology with duck feathers was introduced. The down was sandwiched between a silk lining on the underside of the fur jacket, which created a supersoft effect. From sporty to sophisticated, an exclusive licensing agreement with Swarovski allowed Burani to incorporate crystals, the most stunning example being a dark Russian sable vest with Swarovski-encrusted capped shoulders.
Jun-Manoel Cova relied on investments in technology and research. Using lasers and digital stamping, Persian lamb was mixed with etched leather in fine, abstract designs. Armando Esposito, the founder of the 40-year-old, family-run business said, “Of our buyers, 60 percent come from Russia, and some from Korea. I’d say that there are many more Asian buyers than I’ve seen in the past few years. Naturally, I’ve seen more Russians in respect to last year, but I’ve seen even more Italians than last year.”
In collaboration with the International Fur Trade Federation, Mifur’s special initiative with young designers was central to the fair. Its Remix International Competition drew 34 young finalists from 17 countries in a contest that judged the functionality and sustainability of fur design. Hong Kong designer Sarah Lan Woon Hei won the gold this year.
Albertalli said, “Mifur has been invested in youth for the past decade, from the emerging market come new designers. And fashion is made by the people who follow trends, and the trends are always followed by the youth — most importantly the youth.”
“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