MILAN — Uncertainties over the coronavirus epidemic in Italy, and in particular outside Milan, disrupted the tail end of fashion week and was the talk of the town — although the fashion world was also rocked by the news of Raf Simons joining Prada as co-creative director of the brand.
During the press conference at Prada’s headquarters on Sunday, Miuccia Prada was asked how she felt about revealing the tie-up in contrast with the alarming coronavirus news. “Well, yes, [the contrast] is there for everyone, but the fact is that we must work in a world that is increasingly more complex and difficult, where events of this kind will happen more often because the globalization will lead to problems of this kind — one hopes not too many, and in fact the problem is to manage work and personal life at the same time,” the designer responded. “Life is not a [walk in the park] and so we must work also if ugly, difficult things happen, we must react.”
Giorgio Armani said late Saturday evening that his signature brand’s women’s fall show was to be held behind closed doors, “given the recent developments of the coronavirus in Italy.” The show was filmed in an empty theater, without press and buyers and was made available on the company’s web site and social media. Likewise, Laura Biagiotti opted for live-streaming her fashion show scheduled on Sunday, and the Moncler Genius event, which was staged in a warehouse last week and that was supposed to be open to the public all day on Sunday, was canceled.
On Sunday, shortly before an event to celebrate the Michael Kors Collection partnership with the 007 James Bond film franchise and launch of a capsule collection featured in the new film, “No Time to Die,“ organizers said the event was suspended due to a government ordinance following the developments surrounding the coronavirus. The party and dinner were meant to be attended by Naomie Harris, who plays Eve Moneypenny in the film, and John Idol, chairman and chief executive officer of Kors parent Capri Holdings Ltd.
As a precaution, starting on Monday, the Giorgio Armani company will close offices and plants in Northern Italy for a week, as will Luxottica Group. Earlier this month, Armani told WWD that “we ourselves have invited our employees to limit their trips to the absolute indispensable and to use every possible precaution.”
Last week the Tod’s Group said it had set up a fund for its employees and their families “to support the needs tied to the coronavirus emergency.” The fund will be managed directly by the Italian luxury group.
As reported on Saturday, international eyewear trade show Mido has postponed its upcoming edition slated to run Feb. 29 to March 2 at Milan’s Rho-Fiera fairgrounds due to coronavirus. The fair’s organizer said the trade show would be held between the end of May and early June.
As of Sunday evening, according to media reports, three patients have died in Italy from the virus. The number of patients under observation has risen to 150 people in five regions, including Lombardy with 112 patients. The La Scala theater and the Piccolo theater, where the Laura Biagiotti show was to be held, will be closed in the evenings for the time being. The president of the Lombardy region, Attilio Fontana, was reported saying: “We are not thinking of isolating Milan. It would be unthinkable. If the situation degenerates, in the second phase we could take more drastic and rigorous measures.”
Schools, including universities, will be closed in Lombardy for a week. Sports activities and soccer matches were halted on Sunday. The Milan Duomo cathedral is closed until Feb. 25.
On Friday, the first Italian patient to be detected with the virus was hospitalized in intensive care. The 38-year-old man is an employee at the Unilever facility located in Casalpusterlengo, a small town a one-hour drive from Milan.