MILAN — Giorgio Armani spoke his mind on Thursday — and the gloves may be off again.
As Italy’s fashion brands join forces to revamp Milan Fashion Week, and following Italy’s Chamber of Fashion invitation earlier this week for Armani and Dolce & Gabbana to consider joining the association, the designer explained the reasons behind his decision to remain a nonmember, “for now.” The main one relates to Italian brands that hold their shows outside of Milan.
Underscoring that a note addressed some time ago to the chamber’s president, Mario Boselli, had not been “transferred in any way” to the media, Armani felt that it was nonetheless necessary to clarify his position.
The designer started by explaining that for several years, in response to the chamber’s specific request, he’d scheduled the show for his main collection on a “strategic” day of the calendar — the last, so that the press would stay in Milan until the end of fashion week. RELATED STORY: Brands Aim to Raise Milan's Profile >>
“Naturally, this has over time created different problems, such as, for example, in some cases, the absence of some of the most important journalists from my shows,” noted Armani.
He acknowledged the chamber’s efforts to strengthen Milan’s role and “prestige that it always had in fashion.” Fashion, he said, that is “Italian creativity, and not the events and parties organized in Milan by some Italian brands that show abroad.” Such events, he said, are complementary but not essential.
Armani said the effort to revitalize Milan Fashion Week was “a good initiative” and that he shared the chamber’s goals. However, he said that in order for Milan to be “an important hub of international fashion,” it is necessary for “the most important names in the sector to maintain or [return]” to Milan as the only opportunity to present their lines.
“I realize that this would mean for some brands to review their company policies and to also accept some compromises, the same compromises or sacrifices that I have made so that the shows would last six days. In fact, I have always believed that it was important to avoid being conditioned or pressured from abroad in the organization of our calendar,” said Armani.
The designer added that he was “firmly convinced” it was “absolutely necessary” for relevant brands that are now showing outside of Italy to return to Milan in order to provide “a really important signal.” He stressed that has been a condition for him joining the chamber for years because it would be highly “symbolic of a new spirit” in the sector.
“If maisons such as Gucci and Fendi, now owned by French groups, maintain their shows in Milan, it is a contradiction” that as the Camera plans its relaunch, “not all Italian brands wouldn’t do the same,” said Armani.
The designer concluded by pledging his support for the chamber, its members and Italian fashion in general.
“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