Is Made In Italy on its way out?
Is Italy’s fashion capital, Milan, losing its appeal? Miuccia Prada is certainly concerned. Although Paris is considered to be the couture capital of the world, Milan has long been regarded as a fashion-right city.
But now the moda destination, renowned for its world-class made-in-Italy brands (Dolce & Gabbana, Versace and Gucci to name but a few), is beginning to lose its stylish status.
The granddaughter of Prada label founder Mario Prada, is asking whether Milan is losing its gloss. In an interview with La Repubblica, the media-shy designer reveals concerns about the future of the Italian fashion industry, and the fate of its luxury brands in the hands of foreigners.
Prada is referring to the £476m purchase of iconic fashion house, Valentino by the Qatar royal family. By losing control of the prestigious fashion label, the industry is losing its voice, she suggests. But the fashion house created by Valentino Garavani is not the only Italian brand to have landed in the hands of foreigners. In 2011, Paris Group (a Dubai retailer) bought Gianfranco Ferre and in 2010 Cerruti was sold to Trinity Ltd.
Immaculate attention to detail makes Italian luxury brands coveted the world over – by consumers and investors alike. Prada is not questioning Italian manufacturing capabilities, but is saying that by selling high-end brands to “outsiders” the industry could be risking its world-class rating.
So where to from here? By choosing to showcase her Miu Miu line in Paris, Prada is cementing that opinion. Another couturier that’s made her way to Paris is Donatella Versace. She unveiled the Atelier Versace collection in early July at Paris Haute Couture Week. Could this be a trend? Could more Italian brands make a fashionable switch and showcase abroad? Perhaps, although Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana showcased their inaugural Dolce & Gabbana Haute Couture collection to a select group of clients and media at a private showing in Sicily, on July 9. Although not Milan, it was still considered an Italian job.
So who is to blame for this geographical switch? The 63-year-old designer notes that fashion is still deemed “frivolous” by the Italian press when, in her opinion, it should be seen as an industry that generates income and creates jobs. In addition, Prada suggests that the country’s decision makers and elite should fund the development of Italian art, culture and fashion. Food for thought.
Earlier this year, Prada was honoured for her design vision, alongside the late Elsa Schiaparelli, at the annual Met Gala. The celebrity-laden event was co-hosted by Vogue’s Anna Wintour and actress Carey Mulligan, and a host of fashion-loving fans donned creations by the Italian designer.
Pictured above: Met Gala guests Anna Wintour, Carey Mulligan and Gwyneth Paltrow dressed in Miuccia Prada creations