| MILAN, Sept 23
MILAN, Sept 23 Diaphanous dresses, nautical
prints and angular tailoring drew Milan fashion week to a close
on Monday after six days of catwalks and campaigning to promote
the city's fashion industry as a bright spot in a gloomy local
Veteran Italian designer Giorgio Armani presented sharp
blazers, fitted shorts and floaty floral kaftans, topping off
the show with flowing translucent dresses and large mortar
board-style hats in fuchsia, black and bright blue.
The collection was imagined for a woman who is "a bit less
constrained by the everyday... a woman who lives a life of her
own", the designer told reporters backstage after the show.
Fashion house Frankie Morello decorated clothes with
anchors and shells, and Gianfranco Ferre's tailored coats and
dresses in neutral tones took inspiration from American
photographer Herb Ritts.
The collections provided the finale to a week which has seen
74 official shows, store openings, and parties attended by
celebrities including Cate Blanchett and Blake Lively.
"I think [in Milan] they were feeling a little squeezed by
London, New York and Paris," Vogue magazine editor-in-chief Anna
Wintour told Reuters, referring to three other cities which
organise fashion weeks.
"There's a strong sense of everybody coming together and
supporting Milan fashion, and I think it's really come through
on the runways."
The fashion industry, comprised of clothing, footwear and
leather goods, is a key driver of the Italian economy and trade
body Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana (CNMI) forecasts its
turnover for 2013 to be 58.86 billion euros ($79.42 billion).
This figure represents a 2.5 percent drop from the previous
year, but the rate of decline has slowed from 5.4 percent in
2012, solely thanks to foreign markets, the CNMI says.
Domestic consumption continues to fall and Italy, stuck in
its longest recession since World War Two, is a challenging
place to run a business, but its fashion industry is unrivalled,
said Toni Scervino, chief executive of fashion house Ermanno
"It's hard because there are so many taxes, so many
problems, the logistics aren't there," Scervino told Reuters
before his brand's show which featured its signature Swarovski
crystal embellishments on denim and dresses.
"But it's possible because in Italy there's a quality of
workmanship which doesn't exist elsewhere. And if you're looking
for an excellent product you have it made in Italy."
The CNMI and Vogue also invited young designers to display
their products during fashion week. Francois-Henri Pinault,
chief executive of French luxury group Kering was
among attendees at a showroom dedicated to 16 young designers.
"What I think is important... to really help the economy is
keeping the production here and keeping the creativity here,
bringing young people," Franca Sozzani, editorial director of
Italian Vogue, told Reuters.
Organisers do not say how many buyers attend the events, but
the CNMI estimates fashion week brings 15,000 people to Milan.
($1 = 0.7412 euros)
(Additional reporting by Basmah Fahim; editing by Ralph