(Milan) The Italian haute couture house Valentino opens the ball for Men’s Fashion Week which starts this Friday in Milan, after three years of mixed men’s and women’s collections, thus reconnecting with the Lombard capital, long neglected for parades in Paris.

A homecoming for the famous Roman couturier and founder of the label, Valentino Garavani, 91, who presented his very first men’s fashion show there in January 1985 before experiencing worldwide success and retiring in 2008.

Valentino will parade the man on the campus of the University of Milan, at a time when the institution founded in 1923 “is in turmoil and teeming with students”, some of whom will have the privilege of attending the spectacle which will try to appeal to younger generations.

Pierpaolo Piccioli, Valentino’s artistic director since 2008, should break the codes of men’s fashion to make it more contemporary, while multiplying the nods to the brand’s prestigious past.

“Men’s fashion is now placed on a pedestal, a symbol of Pierpaolo Piccioli’s redefinition of masculine codes” and of its “increasing importance” in the group’s turnover, Valentino said in a press release.

The Italian menswear industry saw its turnover jump 20.3% to 11.3 billion euros in 2022, surpassing its pre-coronavirus level.

Exports have been the engine of this expansion, gaining 24.8% to 8.3 billion euros, according to the fashion branch of Confindustria, the main employers’ organization of the peninsula.

“We believe that fashion will be doing very well in 2023,” assured Carlo Capasa, the president of the Italian Fashion Chamber, during the Fashion Week press presentation in May.

Revenues have certainly been inflated by inflation, as prices for Italian fashion have increased by around 9% in 2022, but their rise is undeniable for men’s and women’s fashion.

“We thought we were going to face a difficult year, but in the first quarter we recorded a 15.3% increase in turnover”, according to Mr. Capasa, who suddenly raised the growth objective to 5%. initially set at 4%.

Men’s fashion week, dedicated to spring-summer 2024 collections, has more than 70 appointments, including only five purely digital, breaking out of the shackles of virtual formats imposed by the coronavirus pandemic.

The big names, including Dolce

Andersson Bell, a young brand launched in 2014 in Seoul that fuses Korean street style and Scandinavian minimalism, will make its highly anticipated debut on Sunday. It was popularized in 2019 by Jungkook, star singer of the South Korean K-pop group BTS and follower of his sneakers.

Among the notable absentees are Versace, Moschino, Missoni and even Fendi, which preferred to present its men’s collection on Thursday as part of the Pitti Uomo show in Florence, which traditionally precedes Milan Fashion Week.

At a run, the models paraded through the workshops of the new Fendi leather goods in Capannuccia, near Florence, in the midst of machines and craftsmen, wearing looks combining elegance and comfort inspired by the world of work.

Linen, cotton, leather or silk are the favorite materials, while the colors are sober, oscillating between terracotta, sage green, ecru and brown, reminiscent of the Tuscan landscape.