Hotel PRincipe di Savoia, Milan Fashion Week ph credits @camera nazionale della moda italiana

The making of Milan Fashion Week

February 16, 2023

As the city dazzles under the spotlight during Milan Fashion Week, we take a look back at why it’s one of the world’s leading fashion highlights of the year.
Aerial view of street intersection in Milan

Fashion forward

February is every fashionista’s favourite month, thanks to a wealth of shows in London, Paris and Milan. The prestigious Italian city alone is the location for over 170 shows and presentations, promoting many of the most well-known fashion houses around the global. It’s also an opportunity to spot and support new talent, as fashion continues to evolve in exciting ways ‒ something models, designers, photographers, bloggers, journalists and style icons all clamber to experience.


Throughout the 1950s, important fashion shows were held in Milan, Rome and Venice for American buyers, whose love of Italian fashion was driven by the huge success of Rome’s famous Cinecittà film studio and its well-known movie stars.

Designer clothes hanging on rail
Designer clothes hanging on rail


The rise of ready-to-wear fashion was huge in the 1960s, making exciting new designs far more accessible. During this time Milan became home to the prestigious Italian publishers Rusconi, Mondadori and Rizzoli, known for their interest and expertise in fashion and cultural history.


During the 1970s, MilanoVendeModa, the forerunner to Milan Fashion Week, was launched and hosted its first event in a big top circus tent, on the outskirts of the city. In 1978, Giorgio Armani hit the headlines when he dressed Diane Keaton for her Oscar win as the leading actress in Annie Hall. The Italian designer also dressed Richard Gere for his role in American Gigolo, making Giorgio Armani one of the most recognisable symbols of Milanese fashion.

Image © Andrea Delbo

Giorgio Armani portrait in Milan restaurant
Designer clothes hanging on rail


Major new fashion names began to emerge in the 1980s, including legendary design houses such as Gianfranco Ferrè, Valentino, and Versace. Milan firmly established itself as one of the world’s most prominent fashion capitals and a symbol of cutting-edge design and forward thinking.

Image © Ty Lim


Milan maintained its fashionable reputation in the nineties, thanks in part to the popularity of established local fashion house Prada’s new ready to wear collection. Following the opulence of the 1980s, the main aesthetic in this era was a paired down look. Rich colours became less popular in favour of subtle nude shades and monochrome designs, while fabrics grew evermore experimental.

Image © CervelliInFuga

Designer clothes hanging on rail
High end shopping street in Milan facing Valentino store


The city’s famous fashion district is firmly established between Via Montenapoleone, Via Manzoni, Corso Venezia and Via della Spiga. It’s here you’ll find all the big fashion house names, side by side with smaller specialist boutiques from up and coming new designers. Among these splendid streets you’ll also discover Milan’s prestigious palaces such as Palazzo Morando, which became home to the city’s fashion museum in 2010.

Image © Andrea Parisi


Now more than ever fashion is focussing on sustainability and responsible innovation. As awareness  continues to grow around making ‘green purchases’, garments made from faux leather, organic cotton and biodegradable and recycled materials are set to be the centre of attention. Big Italian brands leading the way include Giorgio Armani, Gucci and Prada. Alternatively, head to the cool Porta Nuova district for all the latest looks from lesser-known names.

Close up view of peaceful cotton tree in Milan

To discover the fashionable allure of Milan and its prestigious fashion houses, plan a trip to Milan with a luxurious stay at Hotel Principe di Savoia.

Featured hotel

Hotel Principe di Savoia

Effortless elegance meets timeless tradition. Dominating Milan’s Piazza della Repubblica, this spectacular landmark building has been the natural home for international travellers and cosmopolitan society since the 1920s.


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