A pattern is emerging—as Fashion Weeks continue to adapt into what has now been coined as a ‘phygital’ format. Milan, the next stop on the Fashion World tour, is following in the footsteps of its predecessors and hosting 28 physical presentations alongside 24 digital showcases. Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana, the organiser behind Milan Fashion Week, has announced that the event will go ahead this September between the 23rd through to 28th. There will be significant absences from staple brands like Gucci, who, as declared by Alessandro Michele earlier this year, will be going seasonless. Other stalwarts like Moschino and Bottega Venetta are also missing from the calendar. Nevertheless, Milan is home to some of the biggest fashion names in the world, for both brands and designers so there will be no shortage of spectacles to marvel at. Over the past decades, the stylish city has hosted memorable sets like Moschino’s car wash and Prada's desert themed purple sand dunes. Just last year, Jennifer Lopez closed the Versace SS20 show in her iconic Grammy’s dress, the very same palm print ensemble with the plunging neckline that launched Google Image in the year 2000.
Versace, true to its bold nature, will be opting for a physical presentation. Amid a resurgence of 90’s trends like leather corsets, leopard prints and gold chain links, there is a new air of relevancy to the fashion house, which inarguably ruled the nineties. Earlier this year, as Milan Fashion Week went digital for the first time, Donatella Versace opted for the format of a music video reminiscent of old school MTV in place of a traditional show. The brand enlisted the talents of British rapper AJ Tracey, backed by an entourage of models who exhibited the collection while he performed his new track ‘Step on’. If that performance was anything to go by, it signifies how the fashion house knows how to deliver an impact, be it online or offline, and we can’t wait to see how it plays out.
Another long established fashion house, Fendi has also opted for a physical showcase. It was just 2 weeks ago when Kim Jones joined the brand as the new Artistic Director, succeeding the legendary Karl Largerfeld and sending shockwaves and excitement throughout the fashion world. All eyes will undoubtedly be on them for their upcoming collection, which will be presented to a “limited number of guests and [feature] a digital component, the format of which is being defined." according to CEO Serge Brunschwig. After a notable absence from digital Fashion Week in July, we’re sure that Fendi is bound to be back, bigger and better.
The most highly anticipated show of the season is without a doubt, the debut collection of Prada creatively co-directed by Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons. The brand’s SS21 film presented earlier in July, was deemed “standout” by Vogue, an accolade that is certainly ramping up our excitement for their upcoming show. The Italian fashion house will continue their foray into the virtual realm, with plans to broadcast their collection via Prada’s social media platforms @prada, as well as on their website. The amalgamation of the two creative powerhouses make perfect sense, with both counterparts sharing a deep appreciation for the arts—Miuccia Prada’s sharp eye for design has lent itself to Prada’s collections for decades, and she has built an entire institution (Fondazione Prada) dedicated to contemporary arts and culture. Meanwhile, Raf Simons’ is an avid art collector, counts George Condo as a close friend, and his collections itself are heavy with artistic references from Andy Warhol to Peter Saville. We’ll be waiting with bated breath to see some unprecedented artistry in the upcoming Women’s Spring 2021 showcase.
As digital becomes the new normal as far as formats go, brands have been experimenting with the transition by pushing the envelope further. As we have already seen, a phygital Fashion Week has given brands the flexibility to make of it what it may, encouraging unbound creativity. As much as we’ve loved seeing how designers have been adapting to the changes, somethings just can’t be replaced—notably, marvelling at the fashion elite parading their street style looks and spotting who’s sat next to who on the FROW. But with more than half of the brands opting for a live show, it looks like we might just get the best of both words this season.