Milan fashion week is known for seduction and glamour, but even the home of molto sexy dressing is dialling things down. What’s behind the big cover up? The talent all great fashion designers have in common is the ability to read a room. You do not get into the history books by making pretty dresses. The best designers at any fashion week are the ones with a fingertip to the breeze, judging which way the wind is blowing. Like standup comics, they divine precisely how far they can push the audience out of their comfort zone to keep their attention without alienating them. And by sticking a pin in a map to illustrate where we are now, their clothes make us sit up and realise how fast the world around is spinning. For decades, the mantra of Milan fashion week has been that sex sells. Paris does intellectual and chic, London does weird and innovative, New York does polished and commercial, and Milan does sex and glamour. Simple. But the impact of #MeToo, working in an unlikely pincer movement with the rise of the modest pound, as luxury fashion’s Middle Eastern customer base continues to outpace other markets, is pushing sexy dresses on to the wrong side of history. The ciabatta-e-burro of this city’s catwalks has gone stale.
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