By  on February 17, 2006

MILAN — This city's fashion week Feb. 18-26 will feature 101 shows and 73 presentations, the Italian Chamber of Fashion said.

At the same time, the chamber revealed a new primary sponsor of Milan Fashion Week: Canon. It is the second camera company to sponsor a fashion week after Olympus in New York.

Mario Boselli, head of the Italian Chamber of Fashion, was especially pleased with the return of a longer calendar, which kicks off with Roberta di Camerino the first day and closes with Elena Mirò, the only show on Feb. 26. Milan is returning to a longer schedule after a five-day week last September was deemed too taxing by buyers and editors.

"The calendar was more difficult to put together than usual and there was Milan's credibility at stake this time," said Boselli. "We overcame outside pressure [to shorten the days on the calendar] and were strongly criticized, but we said basta, basta, basta.

"Designers such as Giorgio Armani and Roberto Cavalli showed generosity, intelligence and respect for Italy's fashion system," he said, referring to the two houses that agreed to show at the beginning and at the end of the week, respectively, guaranteeing the presence of international press and retailers in Milan Feb. 20-25.

This season, the chamber invited a group of seven designers from Berlin, including Macqua and Presque Fini, to show here. They are slated to show on Feb. 18, following N-U-DE, which is dedicated to new, up-and-coming designers.

There also will be a retrospective exhibition at the city's fairgrounds, which will show the development of fashion and design in Berlin over the past 10 years and a static presentation of 16 Russian designers.

On Feb. 19, British designer Jenny Packham will show in Milan for the first time. The following day, Brioni and C'N'C' Costume National also will hold a runway show here for the first time.

Boselli also underscored the cultural events connected to the city's fashion week. An exhibition dedicated to Helmut Newton, "Sex and Landscapes," directed by his widow, June Newton, will be inaugurated at the city's Palazzo Reale on Feb. 23. The following day, Italian Vogue will present a photographic exhibition by Satoshi Saïkusa on the dancers of the La Scala theater. Earlier in the week, Glamour U.S. will hold a preview of the short movie "Wait" by Trudie Styler, with music by Sting, and 10 Corso Como and Fritz Hansen will kick off an exhibition to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Series Seven Chair designed by Arne Jacobsen. Louis Vuitton, Sir Paul Smith, Diesel, Missoni, Hugo Boss and Kris Ruhs, among others, redesigned the chairs, which will be auctioned in the summer to benefit the Danish Aids Foundation. The chairs are part of a traveling exhibition that originated in Copenhagen, moved to London and after Milan will go on to New York and Tokyo.Fashion shows will be held at the city's fairgrounds for the last time this month, until the Città della Moda is completed, in about four or five years. Come September, the shows will be held at the new congress center FMC, Fiera Milano Center, now dubbed Fashion Milano Center.

The fall shows come on the heels of a successful 2005 for the Milan industry, which reported exports of 2.6 billion euros, or $3 billion at current exchange, in 2005, a 2.6 percent increase compared with the previous year. The city's fashion exports account for 9 percent of the country's total exports in the sector.

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