Milan’s runway shows scheduled for Sunday were going ahead as planned, according to fashion officials, despite Giorgio Armani’s last-minute decision to show his latest collection in an empty theatre amid coronavirus concerns.
The Italian National Fashion Chamber said there were no indications from health officials that changes were called for in the face of the virus that has put about a dozen towns in northern Italy on virtual lockdown.
In a statement, the chamber said it was up to individual brands taking part in Milan Fashion Week to decide if they wanted to go ahead.
The number of confirmed cases in Italy has jumped to at least 133 and officials have halted the Venice carnival in a bid to stop the spread of the virus.
Armani announced that, as a precaution, his runway show on Sunday would be conducted in an empty showroom and streamed on the internet.
It was the first time the 45-year-old Milan fashion house has taken such a step over public health concerns.
The fashion chamber said it respected Armani’s decision, adding that it had no news of any other fashion houses changing their plans.
Dolce&Gabbana, which is not part of the fashion chamber, was scheduled to go ahead as planned, according to the press office.
Creative director Mariana Rosati, for Tuscan brand Drome, said: “I am very sorry what is going on.
“I know it is not predictable and obviously we need to be careful. But I actually think a lot of panic has been spread for not enough reasons.”
She said she thought fewer people would show up for the morning show, which had been overbooked.
“I hope the people are brave and not just succumbing to panic,” Rosati said.
“We will try to bring good vibes in this moment.”
The show started with a packed standing room-only audience.