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CIAO, ANNA!: The Italian fashion world is getting testy with Anna Wintour. Editorials and articles in Italian newspapers have lambasted the Vogue editor in chief, blaming her for insisting the Milan fashion shows squeeze to three days this season from their usual five. The shows, which begin Feb. 25 with Prada, Fendi and a few others, end on Feb. 28.
Corriere della Sera last Friday reported that “[…]Letizia Moratti, mayor of Milan, sent a message to the editor in chief of Vogue America, Anna Wintour: ‘Nobody, not even if her name is Anna Wintour, can take the liberty to do and undo our fashion calendar. For this reason, we must all work united.’ Addressing fashion designers, the mayor said: ‘I think Milan’s fashion should show its pride.’”
A day earlier, Il Sole 24 Ore went even further, writing that “[…] Wintour has been imposing her diktats on the dates of the Milan runway shows for years. […] Made in Italy fashion is a stronger industry than that of its French and American competitors, but when faced by Wintour’s bob and huge sunglasses it transforms itself into Cinderella” — obviously meaning the one sweeping the floor and not the princess sweeping through the ballroom just before midnight.
Giorgio Armani, Anna Molinari, Tod’s Diego Della Valle and Krizia’s Mariuccia Mandelli were among those voicing concern that a shorter show week would reduce the strength of the Italian fashion industry. The show calendar also was the main topic during a press conference held Tuesday by Italy’s Chamber of Fashion, as Mario Boselli, head of the association, said that, based on the reaction of the industry this season, he could “guarantee” the calendar “will be different in September,” with at least five days. Shows currently are slated to run Sept. 22 to 29.
While the press has blamed Wintour, Boselli said it was “the designers’ responsibility to acknowledge their strength” and not cave in to outside pressure. “Especially in this economy, it is too costly to work in a state of constant emergency,” said Boselli, citing a total of 184 collections, of which 87 are runway shows for 78 brands, with 18 shows on the third day alone. According to the Chamber, the fashion industry’s 2009 sales fell an estimated 15 percent to 56.5 billion euros, or $78.5 billion, compared with 66.4 billion euros, or $97.6 billion, in 2008. Dollar figures were converted at average exchange rates for the periods to which they refer.
And what does Wintour have to say about all the hubbub? “I am very much looking forward to going to Italy, as always,” she told WWD. — Luisa Zargani