MILAN, July 31 (Xinhua) -- After more than 30 years, Milan's fashion week has changed its format to welcome international visitors in some of its historic buildings and celebrate not only fashion but also culture and art.
The fashion week, which is to begin on Sept. 22, will cover a full seven days, instead of three as it did in February after the editor of American Vogue magazine, Anna Wintour, said she could only spare three days for the event in Milan.
Younger designers will alternate with big names, while less interesting brands have been omitted from the agenda to present the best that Italy's fashion industry has to offer.
"This year's innovation is that the fashion week will be part of a three-week festival focused on the city's historic center," the president of the National Chamber of Fashion, Mario Boselli, told Xinhua in a recent interview.
Boselli also said that the new Fashion Hub, which substituted the far-off Gattamelata Fashion Center, will be based near Duomo cathedral in the 16th century Giureconsulti Palace, which used to be the home of the Milan Stock Exchange.
"A very important change is that all the fashion shows will take place 20 to 300 meters from the new hub," said Boselli, adding that it will also be possible for people to follow the fashion shows live on huge screens placed in front of the palace.
"In addition to the shows, on Sept. 8-30 Milan will host a variety of fashion-related events aimed at reinforcing the city's iconic role in international fashion," Boselli noted.
Other more central and sumptuous new venues will host part of the shows, in addition to brand showrooms and designers' headquarters.
Therefore, visitors will be able to easily walk or bike nearby from one location to another, to enjoy a fashion week in real Italian style.
Another innovation of the fashion week will be a free bike- sharing service for journalists. Hundreds of showrooms, shops and museums in Milan will stay open late in September to welcome the large crowds which are expected.
Special agreements with hotels and stores together with discount rates on flights will better support Italy's fashion industry that accounts for 11 percent of manufacturing and currently employs about one million people.