MILAN – And the winner is, Milan and Made in Italy.
As the event dubbed the “Oscars of Fashion” unfolded, it was clear that the city’s and country’s fashion industry responded by showing a united front to anyone questioning its relevance and especially its efforts to create an increasingly sustainable production pipeline.
The first edition of the Green Carpet Fashion Awards, Italia held at the La Scala theater on Sunday evening recognized both celebrated designers — think (alphabetically) Giorgio Armani, Tom Ford, Alessandro Michele, Pierpaolo Piccioli and Miuccia Prada — as well as up-and-coming ones, artisans and technological innovators.
After a cocktail on the square in front of the theater — which was completely fenced off from the rest of the city and transformed into a luscious garden with pomegranate trees and a green carpet made from recycled fishing nets — guests were entertained by Gioacchino Rossini, Giacomo Puccini and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart airs sung by young students of the La Scala Academy, introduced by Alexander Pereira, artistic director of the prestigious theater.
Modeled after the Academy Awards, but in a shorter one-hour version (to the relief of the weary fashion crowd at the end of show week) celebrities were invited to hand out the 11 awards, a statuette designed by Chopard.
“As public figures, we are exposed and we can contribute to spreading the message of sustainability; it’s important,” said Giorgio Armani, who was flanked by Lauren Hutton and Zoe Saldana, in all-white and lavender, respectively. “Each one of us can examine the issue in their own personal way and be part of the project.”
Gisele Bündchen said that “if each one of us took at least one step in this direction, there is no saying how much could be done.” The model and activist said that she grows her own vegetables in her family garden in Boston, eats only fruits and vegetables that are in season and raises bees, which, she said, are becoming rare. “I teach my children to use small bottles and refill them [to cut the use of plastic].”
No plastic is also Amber Valletta’s mantra. “Recycling, solar panels in our home and organic food are all important,” she said.
“I try to do small things such as turning off water when I’m brushing my teeth or when I shampoo. I’m trying to teach my children about sustainability,” said Margherita Missoni, who added she is working to introduce eco-friendly fabrics in her Margherita Kids children’s wear collections.
“I try to recycle as much as I can and I try to use as little water as possible. Actually, it would be nice to figure out a way to get from London to Milan without all that jet fuel,” said Agnona creative director Simon Holloway, who arrived at the event with Malgosia Bela. The model and actress was wearing an Agnona cashmere gown, as well as a scarf woven in San Patrignano, where the Ermenegildo Zegna Foundation developed a project to give the young women in rehab a chance to learn how to create handwoven textiles.
“We use fabrics which are created by certified companies, which are actually the most prestigious Italian textile firms,” said Silvia Venturini Fendi. “At home we are all very attentive to sustainability also because I have a sister [Ilaria Venturini Fendi] who is a pioneer in this field… we really try to follow her guidance. In addition, I have a daughter [Leonetta Fendi] who has a strong commitment to eco-friendly causes. Since we are a big family, it is crucial to think how to preserve this environment for our future generations.”
Surrounded by Valentino’s team of seamstresses, Piccioli said that “during an evening which celebrates sustainability, they [seamstresses] represent the best message you can give to the world… I think that an atelier on Piazza Mignanelli, in the heart of Rome, is the most socially and ecologically sustainable thing possible.”
“We have always worked with recycled, vintage garments, all featuring a certification of origin. I re-use those things which are usually thrown away. It’s my perversion,” said Antonio Marras, pointing at the customized vintage parka worn by actress Geppi Cucciari, who attended the event with the designer and his wife, Patrizia Sardo Marras. “At home, I’m very attentive to recycling and for example, when I sketch I always use recycled paper.”
The list of designers, entrepreneurs and artists who attended the event was impressive, and included Miuccia Prada, accompanied by Francesco Vezzoli; Alessandro Michele with Dakota Johnson; Alberta Ferretti; Rosita and Angela Missoni; Dean and Dan Caten; Ermanno Scervino; Lavinia Biagiotti; Kean Etro and his wife Constanza Cavalli Etro; Ellen von Unwerth; Francesco Carrozzini; Carla Sozzani; Karolina Kurkova; Diego Della Valle; Remo Ruffini; Ferruccio Ferragamo; Matteo Marzotto; Federico Marchetti; Stefano Sassi; Renzo Rosso; Claudio Marenzi, and Michele Norsa.
Opposite the theater, a dinner was held at the city’s town hall, where floral motifs were projected onto its facade, and hosted by mayor Giuseppe Sala.