If not quite a schism, 2020 has sparked a fundamental difference in approach within the Milan fashion system that is set to continue into the new year. Just as at last September’s spring 2021 womenswear week, next month’s fall 2021 menswear week—five days, really—will contain a few physical, actually-see-the-clothes runway shows, a fair amount of digital presentations, and some attempts to hybridize the two. What’s entirely new is that the week will be officially conjoined with this year’s edition of Fashion Film Festival Milano, a kind of Cannes Film Festival for short fashion films that was launched by Costanzo Etro (the wife of Kean, sister-in-law of Veronica) six years ago.
Following last September, those who have stayed true to IRL fashion shows (and that show menswear) plan to remain so: Fendi, Etro, and Dolce & Gabbana. K-Way, the old school French prep outerwear brand that is now Italian-operated, will present a live event too. Ermenegildo Zegna, meanwhile, will present a fresh variant on its “phygital”—half-live, half-prerecorded—concept, which befits its hybridizations and innovations in everything from sustainability to tailoring.
Our first glimpse of Raf Simons-flavored Prada menswear will be the chief digital diversion; set an alert for January 17, at 2pm CET. A-Cold-Wall*, Sunnei, and MSGM are other digital presentations that should be well worth logging on for. Keeping the curtains drawn for now are brands like Giorgio Armani and DSquared2, while Bottega Veneta—and this is only a guess—seems set to remain aligned with those other Kering-operated marques that have used 2020 as an opportunity to step outside the traditional fashion week calendar altogether.
The changes at Milan Fashion Week reflect a rearranging of the deckchairs across the wider calendar. London Men’s Fashion Week has now been absorbed into the newly gender neutral London Fashion Week in February. Pitti will present a digital platform, Connect, just before Milan next month starring Brunello Cucinelli, and then—travel and health regulations allowing—follow up with a physical Pitti Uomo that will clash with London’s mostly digital event in February.