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Emporio Armani show goes silent in tribute to suffering Ukranians

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Milan’s catwalks have been noticeably – and disappointingly – silent on the Ukraine situation this week, with most brands continuing shows without so much as a nod to the destruction and devastation that rages in Eastern Europe.

Today though, Giorgio Armani became the one of the first designers to make a gesture of solidarity, with an Emporio Armani show held entirely in silence.

While the music-free catwalk will of course do nothing whatsoever to ameliorate the plight of those Ukranians suffering, it was refreshing and reassuring at least to see that there are brands out there with humanity and heart.

“What could I do? I could only signal my heartbreak for the tragedy through the silence,” said Mr. Armani post-show. “I didn’t want to show music. The best thing is to give a signal that we’re not happy, but to recognise something disturbing is happening. I think the clothes became even more powerful through the silence.”

With Russians comprising approximately five per cent of the luxury market (per Bernstein) it was perhaps an unwillingness to alienate potential customers that meant other brands remained quiet and continued as normal – that or a (somewhat understandable) confusion and internal conflict over how best to acknowledge the horrific reality without tipping into tokenism.

Giorgio Armani was one of the first designers at Milan Fashion Week back in February 2020 to forgo audiences at his show in the face of rising Covid infections, and again he appears to be leading the slow-to-act fashion industry with his silent gesture of solidarity.

Eyes are on Paris Fashion Week, which starts on Tuesday, to see how its schedule-full of brands will react, if at all.

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