CAMERA READY: Sunday’s schedule kicked off bright and early with a breakfast press conference at the Four Seasons Hotel at 8 a.m., as several industry heavyweights and new key board members of the Italian Chamber of Fashion presented their views on returning luster to Milan Fashion Week. “Without Italy, the entire international fashion system would be in a crisis, so I demand respect for all of the country’s pipeline,” said Prada chief Patrizio Bertelli, the association’s newly appointed vicar vice president.

“The name is unity,” chimed in vice president Gildo Zegna. “We are reinforcing the organization and relaunching it while keeping an eye on new challenges, coordinating our resources to maintain our leadership.”

This story first appeared in the June 24, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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To press forward, the Chamber of Fashion will be able to rely on more cash. Starting in 2014, it will have 4.7 million euros, or $6 million at current exchange, in its coffers, 300 percent more than in the past years.


“We need to add some icing on a cake that is already good and learn to tell our story,” said vice president Diego Della Valle. “Italy has substance that Italians are not good at recounting.”

Asked whether Giorgio Armani and Dolce & Gabbana were planning to join the chamber and whether Miu Miu and Valentino would consider showing in Milan — thorny issues over the past few week — Bertelli reiterated that the organization steers clear of the “concept of nationalism” and “discriminations,” urging flexibility, democracy and respect. “The chamber is the epicenter of fashion activities at large, and helps also those that are not a part of it,” he said.

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The industry figures got some tough questions from the journalists, though, including one that pointed out the new chamber figures were, ahem, of a certain advanced age and almost all male. That caused the panel to bristle, including Bertelli, who kept repeating, “We must be careful what we say here” as he prepared to answer. His response? That he never really thought about age or whether someone is male or female — and that many in the industry are young and female.

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