Italy’s fashion capital is again alive with the sound of shoppers swarming boutiques and editors filling socially distanced fashion week venues, a sign of a light at the end of the pandemic tunnel. Milan Fashion Week opened on Wednesday, September 22, with 42 live runway shows and 56 in-person presentations, the biggest presence yet since the pandemic struck Italy 19 months ago, smack dab during fashion week. Adding digital presences, 146 brands are taking part in six days of mostly womenswear previews. The best and worst dressed celebrities at the Met Gala 2021 Signs of recovery are also evident in Milan’s largest department store, the recently renovated Rinascente, where foreigners are spending six times what they spent in 2020 when receipts plunged some 70 per cent. In a clear signal that Italy remains dear to the hearts of Chinese consumers, exports to that country have nearly doubled during the pandemic, to nearly US$7 billion from a pre-pandemic US$3.7 billion, according to the Italian National Fashion Chamber, spending at home at least part of what they once would have spent during trips abroad to Italy. The 1970s echoed down the Fendi runway, with prints, motifs and colours carried by modern silhouettes, during the second collection by womenswear creative director Kim Jones. 10 times Bella Hadid brought back retro 2000s fashion The looks were pop-star glamorous, with big intarsia fur coats and knee-topping boots worn with miniskirts and sheepskin lined short shorts. For daytime glam, a candyfloss pink satin cropped pink jacket was paired with wide-legged trousers. More modestly, silky pantsuits were dramatically trailed by diaphanous capes. Kaftans were decorated with chocolatey swirls that were actually a hand-sketched Fendi logo that Jones found in the archives. A satiny, strapless evening gown in diagonal stripes flowed with flower-child angel wings. Structured architectural jackets revealed a sensuality. Trousers, by contrast, were flowing. Venice Film Festival 2021: the 7 glitziest jewellery looks on the red carpet Jones said that he was going for an updated Studio 54 vibe from the height of the disco era, as he considered both the legacy of his storied predecessor, the late Karl Lagerfeld , and the era when he first made it big. “Our woman has let loose a bit – she is going out, dressing up. We’ve all been locked away for so long that I think that’s what we all need right now,” Jones said, calling his Fendi “multi-generational … for all different kinds of women”. A white monochrome gave way to pastels, bright pinks and purples, toned-down gold and finally black, accented by sheers and sequins. Hair was wound into a tight bun or frizzed-out, perhaps accented by golden heart hairslide, lightly folded like butterfly wings. 3 times Melania Trump got style inspiration from royals The bag of the season encircled the shoulder or wrist, with Fendi emblazoned in gold raised lettering on the underside. Larger shoppers featured images of two women, one black, one white, like a 1970s album cover. Want more stories like this? Sign up here. Follow STYLE on Facebook , Instagram , YouTube and Twitter .