MILAN — The latest COVID-19 wave and the Omicron variant are creating havoc for the upcoming Pitti Uomo and Milan Men’s Fashion Week calendars.
Brunello Cucinelli said Tuesday the current spread of the coronavirus “has pushed the fashion house to a difficult decision, but one that is believed to be indispensable,” revealing that the luxury brand will not be part of the the next edition of the international men’s trade show Pitti Uomo, scheduled to be held in Florence Jan. 11 to 13.
However, the brand’s men’s fall 2022 sales campaign will take place as planned, with the help of a medical station that will test clients and collaborators at the Brunello Cucinelli showrooms in Milan, New York and Shanghai.
“We believe this is a decision based on a healthy understanding of the current situation Italy and the whole world are experiencing,” said Cucinelli. “We also believe it is a choice made with the same sense of responsibility felt over the past few months and that we hope will lead to a return of a normalcy of life and human relations.”
It could not be learned at press time whether Cucinelli will be part of the Pitti Connect digital platform.
While Cucinelli was expected to present the brand’s men’s fall collection in Milan on Jan. 15, as part of the city’s men’s fashion week, the company will add two days to that appointment, meeting press and clients at its showroom also on Jan. 13 and 14 “in the rigorous respect of the anti-COVID-19 protocols.”
On the other hand, earlier on Tuesday, Giorgio Armani revealed he had decided to cancel the Emporio Armani and Giorgio Armani men’s fall 2022 shows, which had been slated to take place in Milan on Jan. 15 and 17, respectively.
“This decision was made with great regret and following careful reflection in light of the worsening epidemiological situation,” according to a statement from the Milan-based fashion house. There are no plans for a digital version of the shows.
Milan Men’s Fashion Week is expected to run Jan. 14 to 18.
Armani has also opted to cancel his Privé haute couture spring 2022 show planned for later this month in Paris. Haute couture is slated to run Jan. 24 to 27 in the French capital.
“As the designer has expressed on many occasions, the shows are crucial and irreplaceable occasions, but the health and safety of both employees and the public must once again take priority,” continued the statement.
Following the news, Carlo Capasa, head of the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana, said the association “deeply understand[s] the decision by Mr Armani to cancel his fashion show, which is an option that is consistent with his approach to the pandemic and to his vision.”
However, he reassured that Milan Men’s Fashion Week is expected to take place from Jan. 14 to 18 as scheduled, while admitting that is was “possible that in the forthcoming days there may be some changes to the calendar,” since brands will pay “the greatest attention to the complex health situation that Italy is in,” and, he continued, “some events which to date cannot be held as originally imagined may have to be canceled or postponed.”
Capasa cited the Italian government’s latest decrees dating the end of December, which allow shows and activities, including presentations and events, to take place in the presence of guests, “on condition that the procedures and protocols to avoid the spread of infection by COVID-19 are applied.” This means that all participants are required to show proof of vaccination — the Super Green Pass — and wear an FFP2 mask.
The Camera is also updating a document indicating the protocols to protect and prevent the risk of infection in staging fashion shows, drawn up in collaboration with the competent authorities “with a joint check of the latest legislative restrictions required by the government,” that will be sent to all the brands taking part in Milan Fashion Week.
Capasa concluded by stating proudly that “in these years of the pandemic, the Milano fashion weeks have been recognized by the professionals, at international level, as those where they have felt safest and most protected, including thanks to our constant work with the institutions, in the first place the Milan City Council. It is our intention to continue in this direction, confirming a fashion week in presence and in safety, which can be followed all over the world through the milanofashionweek.cameramoda.it platform.”
Later on Tuesday, Raffaello Napoleone, chief executive officer of organizer Pitti Immagine, underscored that “even more stringent protocols” have been put in place for added protection ahead of Pitti Uomo and Pitti Bimbo, also slated for this month.
“Some exhibitors are facing difficulties” admitted Napoleone, as some companies, independent of their size, are dealing with infections and quarantines.
“Over the past few weeks, we had taken into account that all this could have affected the participation to the trade show,” but he said that, overall, the numbers are holding up, in terms of buyers and press.
“Pitti Immagine has made a choice, since the beginning of the pandemic, to stay close to the companies and buyers in the interest of the entire fashion system. And since then, we have been true to that choice adapting to the evolution of the general situation, putting our company and its business under pressure,” continued Napoleone. “In the end, we are inspired by the choices of our government, which has decided to reconcile at all costs the indispensable protection of the collective health with the indispensable protection of the economic activities, necessary conditions for one another.”