MILAN — An international air pervaded the Mi Milano Prêt-à-Porter fair, while young designer and eco initiatives also left their mark.
The show attracted 8,443 visitors, up 16 percent from last year, with 23.9 percent from abroad, representing 73 countries with new foreign buyers from Hong Kong, South Korea, Russia, the Czech Republic, Poland, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan.
In its fourth year, the fair ran four days from Feb. 25 to 28 and highlighted 210 women’s wear and accessories exhibitors. Artistic director Andrea Batilla said, “I’m particularly happy because of the young presence at this year’s fair. We’ve always had it before, but it’s been a problem from the commercial viewpoint. We’re noticing that exhibitors who are launching their inaugural lines are selling, so there’s optimism in the air. We’re really happy because if designers are selling, it means that they’re making money…which means they’ll keep coming back, and it shows that the mechanics of the system are working.”
Mi Milano was packed with programs for young designers. This year saw the third edition of The Hothouse, a space that drew attention to 17 young designers in various interpretations. Accessories made a strong presence at Arnoldo & Battois, made up of a designing duo from Venice whose strong architectural backgrounds influenced their structured, intricate handbags. Reminiscent of Madame Vionnet, bags replicated sleeves and dresses in softly folded forms, represented in the Elefante bag. Designers Silvano Arnoldo and Massimiliano Battois chose colors in muted and muddy chocolate, gray and bordeaux.
Special project Collisions curated four emerging new talents and gave them different trends to explore: sports lifestyle, techno-industrial, transgender and ladylike. In collaboration with Italian department store giant La Rinascente, each young stylist became a window dresser for Milan’s downtown flagship. Italian Vito Colacurcio was tasked with the techno-industrial trend, using bleak, no-nonsense colors that were evocative of London’s gray landscapes. His capsule collection was presented in shrink-wrapped, waterproof packaging, which the artist said referenced his use of strong, geometric forms. Colacurcio said of his inspiration, “Indie rock and English music like indie-pop Belle & Sebastian was my inspiration. Music is timeless, like fashion.”
The dedicated trend to recycling and environmental awareness was also within Mi Milano’s boundaries. Italian brand Giulia rien à mettre used high-quality, environmentally friendly milk fiber and Ahimsa silk to create works of “eco luxury,” said designer Giulia Mazzer.