Undoubtedly, Fashion Week Milan is of great importance for all fashion and luxury sectors in the world. Part of the Big Four along with Paris, New York and London, we barely know how this fabulous spectacle came to be.
Prior to 1945, Italy and the major part of the world, looked abroad for the latest fashion trends. Paris was the temple of lady’s wear and London was famous for customizing the best gentleman’s suits and shoes. The middle class simply tried to copy the latest Paris and London trends by ordering their clothes to local dressmakers and tailors. Even Elsa Schiaparelli, that was the best Italian designed of the pre-war period, became famous only after establishing her Houte Couture in Paris.
Charles Fredrick Worth was a pioneer to develop the concept of showing his clientele a pre-prepared selection of original designs in 1858. High society in France was shoched when he showed his models on real women. Ten years after, Worth contributed to the creation of the Chambre Syndicale de la Confection et de la Couture pour Dames et Fillettes, a trade association whose mission was to develop the French fashion industry. The tradition of bespoke fashion presentations in private residences or designer’s salon for aristocratic clients continued in France into the 20th century, securing France’s reputation as the fashion capital of the world. As the trend grew, the presentations became more and more grandiose. Photography, music, sophisticated staging, sets and, of course, the paparazzi started to take a considerable place in the events.
Situation changed with Word War II when fashion journalists were unable to travel to Paris. The shows were cancelled due to Nazi occupation in France. Exactly when all the sector suffered and no light in the tunnel was seen, Eleanor Lambert seized this opportunity to divert the attention of the fashion industry from Paris to America, in order to enhance the reputation and prestige of local American designers on the international scene. The first Fashion Calendar was launched by Ruth Finely in 1944. Designers started showing their collections twice per year in February and September and later these events became known as New York Fashion Week.
Taking inspiration from Lambert’s success, the Italian aristocrat Giovanni Battista Giorgini organized a number of shows in Palazzo Pitti in Florence, Italy. Emilio Pucci and Missoni grasped the opportunity and attracted the attention of all the fashion industry. The amazing success of the event caused incredible traffic in the city, the airport was unable to deal with the influx of royalty coming form all around the world and the show was moved to Milan.
In 1975, the first “Settimana Della Moda” (Fashion Week) calendar of fashion shows was presented in Milan. Today, Milan is recognized internationally as one of the world’s most important fashion capitals.