Four fashion shows, 14 awards, a great deal of ballet, and many speeches – perhaps most notably Cate Blanchett’s as she presented Giorgio Armani with his clearly deserved “Visionary” award: it all added up to a marathon closing event at Milan Fashion Week. That event was the CNMI Sustainable Fashion Awards, which on Sunday night attracted an almost surreally swanky crowd to the city’s storied La Scala opera house.
There to be green and dressed to be seen, the guests included Miuccia Prada, Patrizio Bertelli and Raf Simons (repping Prada), Marco Bizzarri (repping Gucci), Alessandro Sartori and Gildo Zegna (Zegna, of course), Giorgio Armani (who reps no-one but himself) and Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli. Unlike the others Piccioli did not take away a prize , but presented one – the Human Rights Award – to Rubana Huq, the campaigning former president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association.
Valentino also provided the house-red gown worn by Rossy de Palma, who did sterling work in holding the audience’s attention at an event which, while being mightily worthwhile, would have mightily benefited from tighter editing. Easily the most poignant moment of the evening was when Indya Moore presented the Social Impact Award to Kulsum Shadab Wahab of Ara Lumiere. This brand employs and supports women survivors of acid attacks and other forms of domestic abuse, three of whom accompanied Wahab on stage. She thanked the judges: “This is not just special for us, it is special for the many women in India who have never stepped out of their home.” Another especially notable winner was Nkwo Unkwa, who through her brand NKWO, has developed new techniques to regenerate fabrics sourced from waste garments exported to Nigeria.
Receiving the Climate Action Award for Gucci’s collaboration with La Soledad to support regenerative farming initiatives in Uruguay, the company’s CEO Marco Bizzarri revealed another sustainability-focused initiative closer to home. He said: “The fact is, the climate does not have boundaries,” before describing Gucci’s new support for programs in Sicily and Puglia to revive crops including cotton.