Virus closes doors at Armani, but other Milan shows go on

By Canadian Press

MILAN — After Giorgio Armani’s last-minute decision to show his latest collection in an empty theatre due to concerns about the new virus, the rest of Milan’s runway shows scheduled for Sunday are to go ahead as planned, fashion officials confirmed.

The Italian National Fashion Chamber said in a statement there were no indications from health officials that changes were called for in the face of a new virus that has put about a dozen towns in northern Italy on virtual lockdown. It said it was up to individual brands to decide if they would go ahead. Later Sunday the number of confirmed cases in Italy jumped to at least 133 and officials halted the Venice carnival in a bid to stop the spread of the virus.

Armani announced overnight that as a precaution, his runway show on Sunday would be conducted in an empty showroom and streamed for the fashion public on the internet. It was the first time the 45-year-old Milan fashion house has taken such a step out of 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 on as planned, according to the press office.

Tuscan brand DROMe was preparing models for its morning show, one of eight shows scheduled for Sunday. Creative director Mariana Rosati said she did not believe there was reason to fear, as models sat nearby waiting for hair and make-up.

‘’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,’’ Rosati said. 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.” Soon all the seats were filled and the show started with a packed standing room only audience.

Colleen Barry, The Associated Press

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