MILAN — The second edition of the Milano XL project was unveiled Monday at the Palazzo Marino town hall here, inside a frescoed, 16th century reception room. Dubbed “Mostra – Dimostra” or “Exhibition – Show,” it is scheduled to run Sept. 12 to 24 and will coincide with the city’s run of fashion trade shows and Milan Fashion Week.
“[Reaching] the second edition proves that we know how to collaborate in Milan, bringing institutions together under the idea that culture and business can work together to promote the qualities that the country’s pipeline has,” said the city’s mayor, Giuseppe Sala, highlighting that similar to last year, the city will again spotlight the Italian fashion industry’s know-how with a series of installations.
Aligning with the Green Carpet Fashion Awards event to be held on Sept. 23 and promoted by the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana and Livia Firth’s Eco-Age, the 2018 edition of Milano XL will also focus on sustainability. The green topic will be explored both in terms of eco-compatibility, social responsibility and the “circular economy,” said the project’s artistic director Luca Stoppini.
“Municipalities are tasked with enhancing global sustainability issues and raise the bar higher on this topic. We will see the fruits only if everyone takes it on,” said Sala, who promised to keep supporting the Milano XL project in the coming years.
“Sustainability is a strong competitive advantage for Italian companies,” noted Michele Scannavini, president of Italian trade agency ICE, adding that eco-friendly and socially responsible assets are rooted in local companies’ DNA. “Today’s purchasing habits are dictated by this trend and we hope [companies] will continue on this trajectory,” he added. Emphasizing the importance of the fashion industry and its production pipeline for the Italian economy, Scannavini praised “our products’ high quality, added value and accessible prices” as the main pillars. The executive underscored that in 2017, fashion contributed 15 percent of Italian exports, totaling 66 billion euros, up 5.5 percent compared with the previous year. Scannavini also noted that to this end, Italy is rapidly gaining market share, with a “growth rate which has outpaced other countries.” He concluded that, despite political turmoil and uncertainties, the first half of 2018 is showing a positive performance with a 3.5 percent increase compared to the same period last year.
The investment in Milano XL for 2018 will reach 3.2 million euros, of which 75 percent was supported by public investments totaling 2.4 million euros.
Six installations will be set up in the city’s landmark locations, from Piazza Scala and luxury shopping arcade Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II to the square in front of the Palazzo Reale building on the side of the Duomo Cathedral, the church of San Carlo (St. Charles) and the courtyard of Villa Reale flanked by the Indro Montanelli public gardens.
Stoppini emphasized the aspirational side of the installations, which comprises five cubic structures, each dedicated to a different category, including jewels, fabrics, cosmetics, eyewear and leather. The additional cube, located in Piazza Scala, will serve as the “project’s manifesto,” said Stoppini, as it will feature botanical installations on the outside walls and a video screening of interviews of industry heavyweights curated by journalist Alan Friedman projected inside.
Other cubes will feature three sides covered in mirrors to reflect the city’s architecture and one side housing an LED wall projecting the “Verde Milano” short movie by young director Antonio Spanò. The screening of the movie will be randomly interrupted to show inspirational images related to each industry. Inside the cubes, products, as well as video and photo installations, will showcase each sector’s knowhow and production assets.
The artistic director has collaborated with a number of Italian personalities to develop each pavilion. For example, the one dedicated to cosmetics will include a kaleidoscope-like series of still-life images by fashion photographer Giovanni Gastel, while jewels will be celebrated with a number of pictures comparing the precious objects to stars and planets through an evocative set-up overseen by Mariuccia Casadio.
Partners in the project are the city of Milan, the Ministry of Economic Development, Confindustria, ICE and for the first time Assolombarda Confindustria Milano, Monza e Brianza, Lodi, the association gathering companies which operate in those areas. “Fashion and design are as important as what’s currently going on with the industry 4.0 project. It’s crucial to keep the collaboration between public and private [institutions] alive, giving birth to projects, which can impact the industry and the audience,” said Alessandro Spada, vice president of Assolombarda.
Supporting partners include Anfao with Mido (eyewear); Cosmetica Italia with Cosmoprof; Federorafi (jewelry); Milano Unica (textiles), as well as Unic and Lineapelle (tanneries). “Last year’s event demonstrated we can work as a team and our wish is that this strategy can be replicated in the future with the new government and with local and national institutions,” said Milan’s fashion and design councilor Cristina Tajani.
The Milano XL project will coincide for the second time with the industry trade shows, from Micam and White to Vicenzaoro and Super, which will take place during Milan Fashion Week in September, signaling the renewed commitment to the alignment of the schedules of associations.