Milan fashion defends supply chain as designers unveil wares

A model wears a creation as part of the Cavalli women's 2019 Spring-Summer collection, unveiled during the Fashion Week in Milan, Italy, Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

Off the runway, the talk of Milan has been a perceived assault on Made-in-Italy's integrity after a report on exploited workers in the luxury supply chain.

MILAN — The talk off the Milan runway this season has been a perceived assault on Made-in-Italy's integrity.

The Italian Fashion Chamber issued a statement during Milan Fashion Week defending the system following a report by The New York Times on exploited workers in the luxury supply chain in the southern region of Puglia.

The chamber said in a statement the report "embitters and perplexes us for many reasons," and noted that it has been working to make "the Italian supply chain resilient, fair and protective on all fronts."

The chamber acknowledged it had been more than 40 years since the last comprehensive study of irregular labor in Italy's fashion sector, but said the most recent estimate put the number at 2,000-4,000 workers in an industry that employs 620,000 people in 67,000 companies.

Previews of Made in Italy handiwork for next spring and fall continued for the fourth day Saturday at Milan Fashion Week. Here are some highlights:



The Salvatore Ferragamo design team of Paul Andrew for womenswear and Guillaume Meilland for menswear worked in perfect symphony for their second combined collection.

At Ferragamo, the looks are defined from the shoe up. This season's fantastic sculpted women's heels were inspired by Constantin Brancusi's studied curves and the woven uppers from the Ferragamo archives.

"There are actually all sorts of materials and almost every girl has a different shoe, which I love the idea of doing this season," Andrew said backstage. "There's cork heels, stacked leather, wrapped in snakeskin. There are wooden clogs."

A 1940 Ferragamo archive photo of Loretta Young wearing a beveled heel inspired the loose trouser and the palm tree floral print that permeated the collection on handkerchief dresses, suit ensembles and bowling shirts. The color palette was mostly Tuscan-inspired natural hues that were deployed with military precision, with contrasting peacock purple and teals in standout overcoats for him and for her.

The brand is looking to target youth while still maintaining its traditional mature customers, sending out experienced models, including 1990s cover-girl Stella Tennant, to underline that point. Tennant opened the show in an olive leather handkerchief skirt, belted with a taupe T-shirt. Woven boots finished the look.

Menswear and womenswear echoed each other. Coveralls for men were worn apron down under a suit jacket while a women's tailored jacket was left open in the back for an apron effect, and worn with roomy trousers that blurred into a long skirt.

"I feel until recently Ferragamo was speaking too many different aesthetic languages," Andrew said. "You would walk into a store and not really understand what the message was. In working together, we have built this new vocabulary of dressing, in both ready-to-wear and shoes and accessories."



American actors Armie Hammer and Julianne Moore took front row seats at Ferragamo. Hammer sat with James Ferragamo, the grandson of founder Salvatore Ferragamo, who oversees accessories at the fashion house.

"I'm a big fan of the (Ferragamo) family, both in person and also their clothes. It is great to come out to a beautiful city like Milan and look at beautiful clothes with beautiful people," Hammer said, motioning toward Moore.



Ermanno Scervino knows when to be light and when the occasion calls for something more substantial.

A white frothy organza skirt was worn with a prim, fitted white jacket, which segued into a pantsuit featuring a tailored white jacket worn shirtless for the bold, with an angular modesty panel for a bit of daring. Seen together, the pieces would fit a hers-and-hers wedding.

Crochet and ruffle details accented the collection's lighter moments without becoming the main feature. To balance a series of light-as-air lace dresses, Scervino also offered black leather ensembles with thigh-high boots for a rocker ethos.

Womenswear took some cues from men's dressing: tuxedo details on jackets and trousers, men's shirts combined with ultra-feminine skirts. And Scervino sent men down the runway to illustrate the symmetries.

The most striking were shimmery golden jacquard suits, hers with a plunging V neckline, his with a straight white T-shirt. Knitwear, including tennis sweaters, had an edgy golden finish for a wet effect.



The men's shirt is getting a workover at Roberto Cavalli, cropped and wrapped around the bodice and worn with plunging front mini-dresses encrusted in beads.

The collection by Paul Surridge tapped some of the Cavalli codes while trying to retrace them for a younger generation. For this season, Surridge put the focus on legs, the torso and the plunging neckline, "celebrating the physicality of the body."

Gigi Hadid opened the show with a muted animal print on a tailored jacket with Bermuda shorts, and took another turn later in glimmering, silver sequined jacket over short shorts.

Wrap dresses bared torsos and legs. For a sportier look, biker shorts were worn with long see-through tailored shirts or cropped jackets. Sensual touches included plunging V-necks on a beaded dress and a Cavalli signature diaphanous number with lace detailing.

French actor Vincent Cassel watched from the front row with his wife, model Tina Kunakey.



Philipp Plein returned to show his womenswear collection in Milan after a several-season New York hiatus, bringing with him a super-star cast including Chris Brown, Ayo & Teo, American rapper 6ix9ine and a bevy of Cirque de Soleil acrobats.

The collection was a tribute to Michael Jackson, with a clear military inspiration. It liberally used beads, sequins, fringe, crystals and studs on worn leather, denim, latex or python to create motorcycle jackets, evening gowns and corset dresses.

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