Camera della Moda recruits star power to bring back Milan center stage

The moment has come for the National Chamber of Italian Fashion (CNMI) to win back Italy's glory. After a drab period in which Milan lost ground against more experienced competitors such as Paris and London, the biggest names in Italian fashion have decided to make a personal commitment to bring back Italy in a leading role in the international fashion scene.

"The decline of Milan is due to everyone's selfishness. We are all guilty of not knowing how to catch the opportunities of the 1990s. The evolution of the market has made the position of Milan more critical. Today, we have recognized the situation and we have to start over by changing our vision," said Patrizio Bertelli. The Prada boss was just appointed vice president of the Chamber of Italian Fashion during a meeting organized by the organization last Tuesday, May 14 in Milan to articulate its new direction.

Mario Boselli - Photo: Ansa

Following elections on April 17 of Mario Boselli for his fifth term as president and a new board of directors, the new councilors of the Camera della Moda met Monday, May 13 to name their new executive body. The chamber is an umbrella organization for 140 Italian brands and fashion houses and wanted to send a strong message by casting the industry's big names in top positions. Four vice presidents were appointed to the presidency committee to support Mario Boselli: Patrizio Bertelli (Prada), Diego Della Valle (Tod's), Angela Missoni and Ermenegildo Zegna; and two delegated councilors were named, Giovanna Gentile Ferragamo and Stefano Sassi (Valentino Fashion Group).

The seven members of the presidency council are also part of the board of directors that includes another eleven members: Lavinia Biagiotti Cigna (Biagiotti Group), Carlo Capasa (Costume National), Patrizio Di Marco (Gucci), Jacopo Etro (Etro), Massimo Ferretti (Aeffe) Marialuisa Gavazzeni Trussardi (Trussardi), Sergio Loro Piana (Loro Piana), Luigi Maramotti (Max Mara Fashion Group), Renzo Rosso (OTB), Carla Sozzani (10 Corso Como) and Silvia Venturini Fendi (Fendi). "This is a team that will make the difference," said a happy Mario Boselli.

To offer the new team the best working conditions, the last council approved a major budget increase of 300%, an expansion in 2014 from the current 1.5 million to 4.7 million euros, thanks to higher dues based on the revenues of each member company. "We went from a range with a minimum fee of 4,000 euros to a maximum of 26,000 euros to a much wider range that starts at 5,000 euros to a maximum of 250,000 euros. Regardless of the dues paid, each member will have the same weight in the association," said the CNMI president.

Additional sponsor support plus 500,000 euros from the Chamber of Commerce should give the Camera della Moda more freedom to organize Fashion Weeks, even if its increased budget is far from that of its competitors, such as the 10 million euros the British Fashion Council has at its disposal.

Moschino, Spring/Summer 2013 - Photo: Pixelformula

During the press conference, the chamber also announced the creation of seven committees to address major topics, which the new councilors will immediately focus on. The first commission will work on recruiting a managing director "in a very short time" to run the chamber. "The person must have an international and modern executive profile and extensive knowledge of the web," said Ermenegildo Zegna.

Another commission is tasked with the delicate issue of calendar schedules. "The Milan Fashion Weeks have been crushed by other fashion weeks and trade fairs. However, we have decided not to move our dates. The idea is to set six full days and include the young designers and to maintain the same schedule for four seasons. Nevertheless, we need to be consistent. Those who are not associated with the Camera della Moda cannot be on the calendar. We believe that this is not right," said Patrizio Bertelli, likely referring to the two major Italian brands that are not chamber members but do regularly participate in Milan Fashion week, Dolce & Gabbana and Giorgio Armani.

The five other commissions will work on relations with key stakeholders in the fashion industry (employers, Altagamma, etc.), new articles of association for the chamber, collaboration with the textile producing regions and links with China regarding an agreement with distributors. "We are still in a building phase when it comes to radically changing the Camera della Moda. The goal is that it becomes the most representative organization of fashion in Italy, the source of all industry initiatives and ambitious projects," said Stefano Sassi, CEO of the brand Valentino.

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