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Exclusive interview: Mario Boselli


Mario Boselli, the man behind Milan Fashion Week, gives a rare interview to SHOP’s Stephen Doig

Stephen Doig
Stephen Doig,

Amid the hubbub and glamour of Milan Fashion Week it’s easy to forget about the vital cogs in the machine, the people who are working furiously behind the scenes to maintain the city’s reputation as a peerless fashion leader.

At the heart is Mario Boselli, president of Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana – the Italian fashion chamber – the organisation responsible for Milan Fashion Week and for nurturing the Italian fashion industry.

Some of the most important names in fashion are among its members, including Versace, Valentino, Fendi and Cavalli. In addition, Milan Fashion Week’s executive board boasts Prada’s CEO Patrizio Bertelli, Diesel founder Renzo Rosso and Diego Della Valle, president and CEO of Tod’s.

Guiding force
Since 1999, Boselli has overseen every facet of Milan Fashion Week, including the promotion of new talent and the provision of support to established labels. As you would expect, Boselli is stylish and immaculately attired; he is also a model of calm and control.

‘Recently, Milan’s success can be attributed to the presence of young designers, to international names in fashion who have been scheduled to take part in events, and also to a new spirit of co-operation between Milan and fashion institutions,’ he says.

Youthful spirit
The focus on young designers was a major story at Milan Fashion Week spring/summer 2014, thanks to initiatives set up by Camera Nazionale Della Moda Italiana to showcase the country’s talent. One example was when young designers were invited to show  their collections in the Hall of Caryatids in the Royal Palace. 

By the end of the week, two emerging designers Fausto Puglisi and Stella Jean had been featured in news outlets from New York to London. Boselli says that his organisation is dedicated to young creativity and mentions up-and-coming designers Andrea Incontri, Angelos Bratis, Uma Wang and Marco de Vincenzo.

Promoting Italian excellence
As well as organising Milan Fashion Week and encouraging new talent, Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana works year round to support and promote Italian fashion. The organisation upholds the rich history of Italian fashion heritage, balancing the innovations of the future while respecting the past. ‘Ours is a tradition that goes back centuries,’ says Boselli.

Fashion in Italy is no afterthought; it’s a huge sector of the economy and is an important source of employment. ‘The country’s history is epitomised by excellent style. Over the past 50 years, Italy has developed a tremendous ability to produce fashion thanks to our textile and clothing industry. Today, there are 70,000 companies and 650,000 workers in the industry.’

Milan retains its throne
Of course, in recent years other fashion centres across the world have attempted to challenge Milan’s crown, but the fact remains that Milan Fashion Week boasts some of the most powerful, most luxurious and most agenda-setting collections in the world. ‘Milan as a city is appreciated by an international audience,’ says Boselli.

‘In terms of size, we can’t compare to London, Paris or New York, but the city is a showcase for fashion and the feedback we got last season from the most prestigious names in the industry proved that.’

In the thriving and fast-paced international fashion arena, Italian fashion goods still hold a great deal of cachet. ‘We help small and medium-sized fashion brands to forge into foreign markets,’ says Boselli.

‘The main factors that have fostered the success of the Made in Italy label are creativity and technology; when they are combined, there’s a special alchemy. Traditions in the way we work, linked to our history and techniques, mean that Italy produces pieces that are beautiful and elegant, upscale and wearable.’

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