Milan Fashion Week: What you need to know

There is New York Fashion Week and there is Milan Fashion Week. We call it Italy’s weakness, but the Italian Fashion Week, which is held twice a year in Milan, is our favorite.

Milan Fashion Week is a time when the city’s cobblestone streets transform into catwalks. This event attracts fashion lovers and VIPs from around the world. Fashion shows are almost non-stop so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to meet your favorite designers.

Next week is Fashion Week 2013. This is our guide to Milan Fashion Week.

What is Milan Fashion Week?

Milan Fashion Week starts Wednesday, September 18th with the Spring/Summer 2014 collection. There are 132 collections and 74 shows. It has been home to some of the most prominent designers, including international and Italian designers such as Versace, Gucci, Prada and Versace. Some have even two shows!

Fashion houses can get an idea of how much of the collection they should reproduce for sale by looking at this week. The runway designs will also dictate the fashion industry’s future trends.

This is a great opportunity for designers to showcase their collections to buyers and journalists, who then go through the collection and place orders for their boutiques or stores. Milan’s Fashion Week is one of the most important events, but similar events are also held in New York and London.

Where are the fashion shows held?

Apart from showrooms and studios, Milan’s fashion shows are often held in historic locations such as the Piazza Duomo (Milan’s central square, home to the city’s cathedral), the Castello Sforzesco courtyard (a 15th-century castle), and Arco Della Pace, a triangular arch located in Parco Sempione.

These outdoor venues provide more space and appreciation for the city’s past, as well as the chance for the public to participate in the show.

You can view the complete schedule and locations of Milan Fashion Week at Camera Nazionale della Moda’s Fashion Week calendar.

What is Fashion Week?

It is different for women’s and men’s fashion weeks. The Spring/Summer women’s fashion shows are held in September and the Fall/Winter show in February. These shows always take place a season ahead of the actual collections, so the Spring/Summer 2014 collections will be shown in September 2013. This is to give an idea of how much demand there is for the collection.

The Men’s collections are displayed in January (Fall/Winter), and June (Spring/Summer). Dates vary by year, so be sure to check Camera Nazionale della Moda’s calendar before planning your trip!

Individual shows are usually held every hour and last between 5 and 30 minutes.

Can I still go to the shows even if I’m not working in the fashion industry?

Some of them are not open to the public, however. Many fashionistas are able to wait for outside shows and events to catch a glimpse. There are also specific events that are open to all, such as those in outdoor locations we mentioned earlier.

Many after-parties and other events are free to attend, but you must register in advance. Didn’t RSVP? Don’t worry if you don’t RSVP. You may just be on the list!

If I wish to attend Fashion Week, how far in advance should my Milan trip be booked?

It is best to book as far ahead as possible. We recommend that you reserve hotels and transportation at least a month in advance to ensure your accommodation and tickets. You can also find hotels closer to the date but the prices are much higher.

Next week, I will be heading to Milan. What should I do first?

Kick Fashion Week off by attending Vogue’s VFNO on September 17. (Vogue Fashion Night Out in Florence, September 12th). Even if you aren’t planning to attend a single Fashion Week show, just walking around participating stores, which often offer complimentary refreshments and DJs, will give you an excellent feel for Fashion Week’s energy… plus the chance to see some celebrities!

Are you a past attendee of Fashion Week? What were your thoughts? Let us know your thoughts in the comments

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