FLIGHT PATTERNS: Editors and retailers gearing up for Milan Fashion Week had better pack light this season: Direct flights to Milan’s Malpensa airport are becoming scarcer by the day. With Air France taking a stake in Alitalia, Italian designers are worried that the Paris and Rome airports will divest Malpensa of its role as an international hub and steal Milan’s thunder. “This is deeply worrying,” said Rosita Missoni, pointing to the number of trade exhibitions and manufacturers in and around Milan. Missoni warned that a scaling down of Malpensa in favor of the Paris airport would greatly favor the French fashion and design industries. “It would be easy for them to become more relevant,” she said.

“There is a dramatic scaling-down of Malpensa. It’s a disgrace,” said the usually unflappable Mario Boselli, head of the country’s Chamber of Fashion. He said he and the designers are talking to Italian commercial and political associations to find alternative solutions.

This story first appeared in the January 14, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Anna Molinari said it would do “enormous damage” if Malpensa were to become less relevant internationally. “Milan cannot be disregarded for the women’s and men’s fashion weeks and its accessories exhibitions,” said the designer. “The whole luxury sector would be negatively hit by this decision.”

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