Milan Fashion Week began on Tuesday eclipsed by the outbreak of coronavirus, with thousands of Chinese designers, buyers and journalists leaving the event.
China accounts for more than a third of the world’s luxury consumption and the crisis has already cost Italy’s fashion sector millions of euros.
But the show must continue, and for five days, the most important fashion names in Italy such as Armani, Fendi, Prada, Versace and Gucci will exhibit their Fall-Winter 2020 collections for women.
The event started Tuesday night with a China, we are with you Fashion show by Chinese designer, Han Wen, based in New York.
In the middle of the 56 shows, 96 presentations and about 40 events planned until Sunday at the center of Italian fashion, the three Chinese designers with scheduled shows – Angel Chen, Ricostru and Hui – have retired.
Italy was the first European country to ban all flights to and from China last month.
In addition, the closure of Chinese brand production workshops in China made it impossible to meet the production deadlines for the shows.
The virus, which has already killed nearly 1,900 people worldwide, mainly in China, also put London Fashion Week on hold.
That show, which began on Friday and lasted five days, was also marked by a “significantly reduced” attendance, organizers said.
The National Chamber of Italian Fashion said that the economic impact of the epidemic “is currently not calculable.”
Using the 2003-2004 SARS outbreak as a guide, he said an “optimistic” estimate would be for Italian exports to decrease by a minimum of 100 million euros ($ 108 million) in the first quarter of 2020 and 230 million “in case of a prolonged crisis ”during the first half of the year.
The absence of China will be noticeable not only on the catwalks, but also behind the scenes, in showrooms where international buyers come to order pieces that will end a few months later in luxury boutiques around the world.
To bridge the gap, the camera has launched a variety of digital media to connect shoppers in China by giving them access to streaming catwalks, but also behind the scenes.
Interviews with designers and live shows will also be available in the heart of the showrooms.
Prada has changed the time of her show on Thursday from 6:30 p.m. at 4 p.m. to allow the Chinese market to follow the show.
China will also be at the center of attention with the Chinese-Italian fashion City initiative sponsored by Chinese retail giant Colossus Chic Group, which gives eight emerging Chinese brands the opportunity to present their collections in the Hub dedicated to shoppers.
The designers will be present virtually with video links.
The COVID-19 outbreak, as the World Health Organization formally called it, has also affected the sector’s supply chain, with the closure of textile manufacturing plants in China, causing significant delays in the delivery of Collections