Fendi, Armani close Milan Fashion Week in fresh venues

Fendi, Armani close Milan Fashion Week in fresh venues
A model wears a creation as part of the Fendi men's Spring-Summer 2020 collection, unveiled during the fashion week, in Milan, Italy, Monday, June 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

MILAN (AP) — Milan mainstays Fendi and Armani close out four days of menswear previews on Monday, capping a lighter-than-usual program with some of the Italian fashion world’s top labels altering their show rhythms.

Both houses chose special venues, away from their usual showroom locations. Fendi invited fashionistas to a garden picnic, setting up wicker chairs along a gravel park pathway and even providing straw picnic baskets with a brioche, Fendi-branded baby bananas and a ceramic cup filled with coffee, green tea, juice or water by roving waiters.

Giorgio Armani was showing in his historic headquarters in the center of the city for the first time in nearly two decades, closing the menswear calendar.

Gucci and Prada were among the fashion houses that have decided to combine their shows with co-ed collections on the women’s calendar or do one-off shows in other cities.

Highlights from Monday’s shows:

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FENDI’S GARDEN STROLL

Oscar-nominated film director Luca Guadagnino continued his long-time Fendi collaboration by staging its Spring/Summer 2020 collection, and the Italian director recreated the sultry, summery mood from his hit film “Call Me By Your Name.”

Rather than the usual indoor runway show, models strolled along a forested path in Milan’s Villa Reale to preview a collection that blended neatly into the foliage with earthy greens, beige and browns.

“It was Luca who discovered this place, a different set, which he saw with the eyes of a cinematographer, to present a collection inspired by the botanical world, by gardening, and by travelers,” said creative director Silvia Venturini Fendi, who has been a producer on some of Guadagnino’s films and who tapped him to do a short film for a 2005 runway show.

Fendi said the collection was a return to simpler things, like caring for a garden. Models carried with them Fendi-clad watering cans, and bags that had elements of a gardener’s tool bag.

The Guadagnino collaboration extended also onto the looks themselves, with botanic prints that he created while on the set of the 2018 film “Suspiria,” appearing on flowing kaftans — which show notes say are a reference to Guadagnino’s childhood in Ethiopia — as well as on light outerwear, as linings in mesh Fendi Peekaboo bags and on nylon tote bags.

Fendi, who suffered the loss of long-time womenswear designer Karl Lagerfeld in January after five decades with the Rome-based family-run fashion house, said the sense of wonder that comes with fashion is what keeps her going.

“It is work that allows you to keep reinventing yourself. And something that I learned from Karl is never to look back at what has already been done, what is interesting is only what you have not done. Therefore, as soon as I finish this collection, thoughts turn to the next.”