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Milan Fashion Week carries on amid virus, economic concern

Models wear creation as part of the Ermanno Scervino women's Fall Winter 2020-21 collection, unveiled during the Fashion Week in Milan, Italy, Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

MILAN — Runway shows continued apace on the fourth day of Milan Fashion Week as the itinerant fashion crowd took an analytical attitude toward the cases of the virus from China clustered not far away in northern Italy.

Milan city officials closed offices as a precaution as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases grew in an area just an hour outside of the fashion capital. Milan is the capital of Italy’s Lombardy region, which reported 39 confirmed cases tied to a single patient.

While there was chatter at runway shows and other Fashion Week events about the rapidly spiking infections, health worries remained remote enough to contemplate concerns about a potential economic impact.

“For the moment the situation is under control,’’ the president of the Italian National Fashion Chamber, Carlo Capasa, said.

‘’It doesn’t seem to me, in this moment, for what regards our sector, our fashion week, that there are signs of danger,’’ Capasa said. ‘’We are tranquil and prudent.’’

Highlights from previews for Fall-Winter 2020-21 womenswear looks:

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FASHION’S VIRAL ECONOMIC CONCERNS

While the virus clusters didn’t cause undue health concerns at Milan Fashion Week, fashion houses remain worried about the longer-term economic impact. Chinese consumers at home and abroad are responsible for one-third of global luxury sales. The Italian fashion chamber has already forecast a 2% contraction in first-half revenues.

‘’I think we have to live day by day because it is beyond our control,’’ Ferruccio Ferragamo, son of the late Salvatore Ferragamo, said at the brand’s Saturday’s runway preview. ‘’We try to do our best with heart and head, everything in order to get over this.’’

He said the brand is maintaining close contact with its people in China.

‘’I think that if we are very ‘foot on the ground,’ we will benefit later,’’ Ferragamo said.

Giorgio Armani also expressed longer-term uncertainty ‘’We don’t know when we will be able to breath a sigh of relief,’’ the designer said.

Armani said the challenge for businesses won’t end when the virus stops spreading. That will be when fashion companies will need to renovate stores and ‘’again create enthusiasm among the people,” he said after the Emporio Armani preview Friday.

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FERRAGAMO’S ‘’METAMODERN’’ WOMAN

The queen, the mother, the lover, the sage, the maiden, the huntress and the mystic. They are the seven Jungian archetypes that inspired Paul Andrew’s newest collection for Salvatore Ferragamo.

‘’I was thinking that here, today, in this modern age, a woman in any given hour is all of those things together,’’ Andrew said backstage.

Andrew’s mood board was full of ‘’iconic’’ women who fulfil those roles. They included Nancy Pelosi, Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Sharon Stone, in her ‘’Fatal Attraction,’’ iteration, and Wanda Ferragamo, Salvatore’s widow, who helped turn his luxury shoe business into the global luxury brand it is today.

The collection brimmed with Italian craftmanship — from wavy woven bags made from upcycled left-over leather from the Ferragamo warehouses, to hand-made macramé inserts in an archival botanical print, enhancing the back of a print blouse with eye-catching detail.

Trousers were high-waisted, sometimes corseted and other times layered with a built-in side-cinched long skirt on top. Knitwear, worn perhaps as mini-dresses, came embroidered with exotic florals. Leather coats had a light feel and incorporated scarves. The design feature was repeated on sheer dresses and blazers, creating a dramatic effect. And there were strong all-leather pant looks for anyone wanting to star in their own James Bond thriller.

The opening and closing looks featured fringe-adorned dresses — one a shimmering silver fringe skirt over a black sheath, and the other long strands of ribbon trailing from a black strapless number — that had a polished, shredded effect. Coincidence that it comes just weeks after U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi shredded a copy of U.S. President Trump’s State of the Union address on live TV?

‘’She’s an incredible woman,’’ Andrew said of Pelosi. ‘’She is powerful, she is strong, she is comfortable with herself. She is everything I admire in a woman.’’

Colleen Barry, The Associated Press