There’s no better time to visit Milan than Fashion Week, when all the celebrities and global trend setters converge on the streets of Milan and transform it into one big fashion show.
Whether you’re simply wandering the streets or gazing at the sleek, stylish fashionistas in town, you’ll get a first-hand glimpse of where many of the world’s fashion trends begin; Milan Fashion week is all about the prêt-à-porter, or ready-to-wear, styles.
And with the likes of big name designers such as Prada, Versace, Armani and Dolce & Gabbana making the city their home, is it any wonder Milan Fashion week is counted as one of the “Big Four Fashion weeks” along with Paris, London and New York?
A brief history of Milan fashion
With a fashion industry specializing in luxury goods dating back to the middle ages, the city of Milan, Italy has a well-earned reputation as one of the most stylish cities in the world. Historically, Milan developed a name for high quality textiles and tailoring. During the 19th Century, the Milanese began adapting Parisian styles to fit local tastes, which generally tended to be simpler and more conservative than their French counterparts.
In the 20th Century, Milan continued to grow as an international trend setter for the latest fashions, with a number of big designers making the city their home. Milan fashion trends became popular for their simplicity and elegance… and for being more affordable than the fashion emerging from Paris and Florence.
Milan Fashion Week was born in 1958, with the establishment of the National Chamber for Italian Fashion (or Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana). This organization serves as the regulating body for Italian fashion, and also the organizer of most Milan shows during Fashion week. Of course, there are always exceptions — Dolce & Gabbana and Gucci organize their shows independently from the Chamber.
Milan Fashion Week dates
Today’s Milan Fashion week features more than 40 shows in venues all over the city, many open to the public. The Fashion weeks are held semi-annually to showcase the upcoming season’s fashion. Women’s events are held in September/October to showcase spring and summer collections, and in February/March to feature fall/winter trends. Men’s fashion shows are also held in June and January.
Milan Fashion Week locations
The streets of Milan literally become a runway during Fashion week. Although you do need to buy a ticket to some events, many of the Milan shows are held in public venues. Some of the venues open to the public include the Piazza Duomo, Milan’s central square, the Arco della Pace and the Castello Sforzesco courtyard. It is also tradition to hold shows in the Milan’s old Palazzos, such as the Palazzo Reale and Palazzo Serbelloni.
Milan Fashion Week designers
Some of the big events during the Milan Fashion week include the Prada Fashion and Gucci fashion shows. You will also see Roberto Cavalli, Versace, and many more. Milan fashion week also features up-and-coming designers; Cristiano Burani and Au Jour Le Jour both got their start on the Milan Fashion Week runway.
Even if you don’t get a ticket to one of the big shows, visiting Milan during their Fashion week is still a fascinating experience. Not only do you get to visit the bustling Italian city, with its intriguing mix of old and new, all you have to do to get a glimpse of the future of fashion is to stake out a spot in the central square and watch some of the world’s most stylish people strut their stuff.