By  on September 14, 2006

MILAN — Retailers and press attending Milan Fashion Week will have to get used to a new show location this season, as well as more designers than ever holding two shows.

After 25 years at the city fairgrounds, the eight-day Milan Fashion Week will move to the new Fashion Milano Center on Via Gattamelata, a location that comprises the Sala Montenapoleone and Sala Manzoni (not to be confused with the streets of the same names on the other side of Milan) as well as the Sala Spiga and Borgospesso, which seat from 450 to 1,200 guests. There also will be three satellite marquees, called Sala Senato, Sala San Babila and, for the first time in the history of Milan's fashion shows, an historical sports location, the Vigorelli Velodrome, which will seat around 1,500 people.

Mario Boselli, head of the Italian Chamber of Fashion, said he was pleased with the fact that more than 50 percent of the brands will be showing at Fashion Milano Center. The chamber of fashion said Milan Fashion Week this season will total 221 collections, which include 99 shows for 98 brands, 84 presentations and 39 presentations by appointment.

Although the official calendar runs Sept. 23 to 30, brands with less international presence are scheduled for Sept. 23 and 24. Blumarine's younger line, Blugirl, will kick off the thickest part of the calendar on Sept. 25 at 11:15 a.m., followed by Salvatore Ferragamo, C'N'C Costume National, D&G and two shows by Giorgio Armani in the afternoon, at 3 p.m. and 4 p.m.

After Armani, Burberry Prorsum, Maurizio Pecoraro, Pringle and Belstaff will show that day. Prada, Gucci, Jil Sander, Gianfranco Ferré and, for the first time, Marni, all will hold two shows. Prada is set to show on Sept. 26 at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m.; Gucci, the following day at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.; Jil Sander at 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Sept. 28, and Ferré on Sept. 29 at 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.

On Sept. 29, Versace will hold one show at 5:30 p.m. at its new Teatro Alcione location, a former theater recently purchased and restored by the Italian fashion house. The space, which seats about 1,000 people, will be unveiled to the press on Monday. Dolce & Gabbana will show on Sept. 28 at 2 p.m. in its Viale Piave theater.Off the official calendar, Marni will hold a 9 a.m. show for buyers and a 10 a.m. show for the press on Sept. 26, and Alessandro Dell'Acqua will show the following day at 10:30 a.m. Philosophy by Alberta Ferretti will coincide with Cividini at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 29.

Missoni, Byblos and Roberto Cavalli will start to wrap up the week on Sept. 30, followed by shows by three Russian designers.

Among new brands, Ab Soul, Miss Bikini, Pin Up Stars, Shirt Passion and Sonia Fortuna will show in Milan for the first time. Also a first, the chamber will hold the runway shows at FMC every 45 minutes and has reserved central morning slots for those brands that have more international visibility.

"We're back to having a reasonable calendar, spread over eight days, in order to give all designers a chance to show," said Boselli, noting once again how the five-day calendar in September last year was "disastrous" for retailers, designers and the press alike. Boselli also presented show dates for 2007 and 2008. Next year, Milan Fashion Week will run Feb. 17 to 25 and Sept. 22 to 30. In 2008, dates are set for Feb. 16 to 24 and Sept. 20 to 28.

Other events this season include photo and art exhibitions. Supported and created by Canon, Milan Fashion Week's main sponsor, the exhibition "The Other Side of Fashion," will feature backstage photos taken by designers such as Roberto Cavalli, Dolce & Gabbana, Frida Giannini, Anna Molinari, Donatella Versace, Christian Lacroix and Sonia Rykiel, among others. Held at Milan's Palazzo Reale, the exhibition also will travel to London (Sept. 16 to 30) and to Paris (Sept. 21 to Oct. 14). Proceeds will be donated to the Red Cross.

Also, the city of Milan is said to be organizing a preview of the Tamara de Lempicka exhibition, scheduled to open at Palazzo Reale on Oct. 4, during fashion week.

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