At the Milano Digital Fashion Week, brands presented fashions for 2021 through videos, virtual runway shows and performances. A number of shoe companies also took on the challenge

[On the cover: a frame from the Santoni’s video “Origini, an emotional narration”]

Over 60 brands, divided into 3 groups, took part in the Digital Fashion Week that ran from 14 to 17 July, presenting S/S2021 men’s collections and S/S2021 men’s and women’s pre-collections. A successful and unique formula that enabled both famous brands and emerging talents – grouped in the Together for Tomorrow and International Fashion Hub Market sections – to showcase their collections for the coming seasons digitally (there were only two ‘physical’ events, the fashion parades of Etro and Dolce&Gabbana), through a series of distinctive, professional and surprisingly creative videos, performances and personal stories.

Such as Prada‘s “Multiple Views”, in which different aspects of the men’s and women’s 2021 collection were interpreted by 5 different artists: Terence Nance, Joanna Piotrowska, Martine Syms, Juergen Teller and Willy Vanderperre. Attention is centred on the garments, simple unostentatious clothes with their own precise utility and value, longevity and a place in people’s lives. Simplicity as an antidote to the complexities of the present day, expressed in clothing that is both sporty and formal, classic and futuristic, and in basic accessories such as lace-ups and sneakers for him, ballerinas and décolleté shoes for her.

Outside the box as usual, designer Alessandro Michele presents Gucci’s Epilogue collection through an all-day live stream of the ad campaign shoot, with the brand’s creative team modelling the clothes.

A recurring theme to emerge during the presentations was that of nature, often inspired by the brand’s birthplace. Such as the Santoni fashion film that was shot in some of the Marche region’s most beautiful areas and merges scenery and products together, with the landscape’s warm colours reflected in its leather shoes. Or Ermenegildo Zegna, whose models paraded between the greenery of the Oasi Zegna and the Lanificio (wool mill), the brand’s headquarters; the intention was to unite “nature, man, machine”, in the words of creative director Alessandro Sartori, who emphasized the fluidity and softness of the garments, accompanied by sandals and thick-soled moccasins.

Salvatore Ferragamo’s story-telling taps into the brand’s past and values; as well as tracing the illustrious history of its founder, the video project conveys a desire on the part of the brand to look ahead, while remaining attached to its past. The brand’s iconic models merge with the shapes and materials of its new S/S 2021 collection.

Tod’s  also chooses storytelling to recount the way in which its products are crafted. Presentation of the pre-spring collection is entrusted to designer Walter Chiapponi, whose aim is to combine craftsmanship and the new technologies starting from the brand’s DNA. So we have shoes with interweaving made with laces rather than thread, light-weight models full of details that recall the Seventies and the jet-set of that period.

For Missoni, the present is born out of the past, from a family history that goes back for three generations and that, in the video, is recounted both through the testimony of the protagonists themselves and the opinions of experts in the sector, journalists, fashion critics, architects and artists.

But the focus of many of the digital projects was not merely nature but also Italy, in all its natural splendour. Alberta Ferretti took an imaginary trip through some of Italy’s loveliest cities, using them as the backdrop for its resort 2021 collection: sophisticated daywear and romantic, timeless evening dresses, accompanied by brightly-coloured décolleté shoes and sandals or soft high-heeled boots.