It was business as usual Saturday for Milan Fashion Week despite a clutch of coronavirus cases including two fatalities near the northern venue.
Barely 60 kilometres (35 miles) away from the capital of the Lombardy region, where outfits from Salvatore Ferragamo and Ermanno Scervino were headlining runway interest, 39 confirmed cases have emerged.
The small town of Codogno, about an hour away from Italy’s business capital by road, was in lockdown along with several other neighboring towns after the deaths of an elderly woman and man.
Those fatalities saw Italy become the first country in Europe to report the death of one of its own nationals from the virus.
Authorities confirmed Saturday the other people infected had all had contact with “patient number one”, a 38-year-old man still in intensive care in Codogno.
Members of his family, friends and his doctors are all among those who have been diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus and Italian authorities have reacted by asking some 50,000 people in the area to stay at home to keep the virus spread at bay.
“The (fashion) shows are going ahead calmly, there is no panic, there are no cases of contamination or suspicion of cases in Milan or in our sector for the moment and we hope that stays so,” said Carlo Capasa, president of Italy’s National Fashion Chamber.
“Prevention measures are absolutely active, we are in permanent contact with health institutions who tell us the situation is under control,” Capasa said
Salvatore Ferragamo’s new collection had been the day’s early highlight, the Florence-based house’s British creative director Paul Andrew bringing its legendary flair alive with items including long coats and culottes.
Lingerie-inspired dresses, in silk or leather, were more the order of the day for the Scervino set, replete with shiny sequins and feathers.
Also on bill was was Bottega Veneta, owned by French luxury house Kering, winning a seal of approval from actress Sigourney Weaver, who found it “superb”.
The house’s US artistic director Daniel Lee, 34, is avowedly out to turn a cold shoulder on the sensational in offering a collection which will pack a punch over time and ultimately even earn cult status rather than be cast aside at season’s end.
The collection married classic Bottega Veneta style with a modern approach to colour including silhouettes ranging from black to pistachio green, while other offerings included knitted black frock paired with Texan-style big boots.