The history of Milan Fashion Week

Published on 18 May 2023 at 14:46
Bottega Veneta at Milan Fashion Week FW23

Bottega Veneta at Milan Fashion Week FW23

For many centuries fashion in Italy only existed on a local level, with a long legacy stretching back to the Middle Ages of different cities specialising in their own crafts, fabrics and luxury goods. The echoes of this system ran through to post Second World War when Italy first seriously entered the global fashion market. Among other city contenders, Florence was strong with businessman Giovanni Battista Giorgini assembled a series of then popular designers from across Italy, including Emilio Pucci and The Fontana Sisters, to put on fashion shows first at his own villa Torrigiani and then shortly after at the Sala Bianco in Palazzo Pitti.

This hit off as an immediate success and with huge attendance and buyers from big American department stores such as Bergdorf Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue wanting to put in orders!

Other fashion shows were held in Rome and Venice helped by the newfound prominence of 'Italian fashion in film'. The Fontana sisters based in Rome dressed celebrity clientele, whilst the Cinecittà Studios hosted foreign and local talents, most famously the 1960s movie 'La Dolce Vita' directed by Federico Fellini which helped bring around the status of the little black dress. 

Actress Anita Elkberg in La Dolce Vita

                                                                                                  Actress Anita Elkberg in La Dolce Vita.   

This is a new trailer made for cinemas back on January 2020. 


About Milan:

In 1958, the chamber of Italian fashion came around with a mission to promote and protect design talent. More and more Italian brands came forward with slightly more affordable luxury fashion compared to their Parisian competitors. A northern Italian city with great manufacturing links, it became the home for many designers. In 1961, Milan became the headquarters of the new Vogue Italia. Then as the 70s and 80s hit a series of designers including Giorgio Armani and Versace became widely popular. 

20th Century Milan Fashion 

Towards the end of the 20th century designers were further on the rise, Dolce and Gabanna's nostalgia essence, Prada reviving her family's long standing Milanese business with minimalistic backpacks and Versace's collection that crystallised the iconic supermodel moment. 

Vogue Italia Magazine November 1965 


Here to the left, showcases one of the most iconic moments of Milan Fashion Week. Versace had Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington and Linda Evangelista lip-synching to George Michael’s Freedom. 



Present day Milan Fashion Week SS23: 90s Nostalgia 

For the Spring/Summer23 show, Italian fashion house Versace has Paris Hilton wear a barbie core bridle look, complete with a sparkly mini dress. Gucci was also another extremely talked about brand at MFW23 when they sent identical twins down the runway, combined with a classic movie called Gremlins (intertwined on the clothing and soft toy versions) and walking down with lyrics playing of identical twins Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen blaring out. MFW also showcased ultra low rise jeans, denim on denim and mermaid motives to pay homage to The little Mermaid. 


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