Armani to hold closed-door runway show amid Italy virus spike

Models present creations for Emporio Armani’s Women Fall – Winter 2020 fashion collection on February 21, 2020 in Milan. (Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP)

Giorgio Armani will hold its Milan Fashion Week show behind closed doors Sunday after Italy announced a spike in coronavirus cases and imposed lockdown measures in some areas.

Italy has confirmed 132 cases of the virus, including two deaths, and has imposed travel and movement restrictions for tens of thousands of residents in several northern towns.

Most of Italy’s cases are centred around Codogno, about 70 kilometres (43 miles) southeast of Milan.

Anxiety over the outbreak — which has killed more than 2,400 and infected nearly 80,000, mostly in China — crept onto the catwalk as Milan closed its five-day fashion week on Sunday.

Giorgio Armani said it would hold its womenswear show to an empty room as a precaution.

“The decision was taken to safeguard the well-being of all his invited guests by not having them attend crowded spaces,” the brand said in a statement on Saturday.

The show, scheduled for 1600 GMT Sunday, would be livestreamed on its website, Instagram and Facebook pages.

The decisions prompted worry in some corners.

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“When the news came yesterday evening about the closed door shows, we understood that things were getting serious and we didn’t know if measures being taken were excessive or necessary,” one Armani employee said.

Elsewhere at Milan Fashion week, Italian designer Laura Biagiotti cancelled her show. But Dolce and Gabbana took a less drastic approach and held their events as planned.

For some attendees, the thought of being crammed into shows and parties was enough to spark anxiety.

“We’ve all been in contact with hundreds of people, it gives me chills to think of all these interactions,” said a woman working in the Fendi showroom.

Despite fears gripping some crowds, many of Saturday night’s dinners and parties were well attended, including Bottega Veneta’s fete celebrating its collection unveiled earlier in the day.

Some journalists covering the event warned of hysteria setting in.

“The concern over the virus is becoming alarmist. We have to be careful to not give into the panic,” said one journalist from an Italian fashion publication.

Over 50,000 residents in 11 towns in northern Italy are effectively under quarantine after Italy confirmed two deaths from the coronavirus on Friday and Saturday.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said the lockdown measures could last for weeks.


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