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Cathy Horyn Explores What’s Wrong With Milan Fashion Week

The best thing about Cathy Horyn’s trip to Italy may have been the Tuscan red she picked up for her train ride from Milan to Paris. According to her latest blog post, the Milan shows gave her a lot to drink off. First, the shows were crammed into four extra-hectic days so as not to interfere with Yom Kippur. Another pox on her week was Fendi:

If you told me that Karl Lagerfeld had anything to do with the boudoir show at Fendi, I would have denied it to your face. It was as if someone had dropped an old pair of pantyhose over Milan.

She adds that “the devastation to the Italian textile and apparel-making industries, the economic stress on creativity” cast a pall over the truncated week. Italy is renowned for its craftsmanship, but the economy is slowly eating away at that. A Mantua factory owner who works with Giles Deacon and other designers told Horyn, “What people are getting in stores is lower quality … because fashion companies want to spend less on production.” Couple that with the loss of manufacturing business to China, and Horyn has “the impression that Italian supremacy in design and production is being seriously eroded.” John Hooks, the deputy general manager of Giorgio Armani, told Horyn Giorgio would like to produce his clothes in China.

“He thinks it’s modern,” Mr. Hooks said, adding that it would be politically unpopular given Mr. Armani’s stature in Italy.

China can make good clothes, but they still lack, as Ermenegildo Zegna’s CEO notes, “100 years of know-how. You can’t make it up in 10 years.” Now if only we could get those Milan models some pants.

Random Thoughts Before the Train to Paris [On the Runway/NYT]

Cathy Horyn Explores What’s Wrong With Milan Fashion Week