MILAN, Jan 5 ­— Italian fashion house Giorgio Armani said yesterday it would cancel its upcoming January shows in Milan and Paris due to rising Covid cases in Europe.

“This decision was made with great regret and following careful reflection in light of the worsening epidemiological situation,” said the Milan-based group led by 87-year-old Giorgio Armani.

Armani is the first major Italian fashion label to cancel its upcoming shows this year due to the new wave of infections, as it did at the outset of the pandemic in February 2020, which hit Italy hard.

In May last year, Giorgio Armani announced the resumption of fashion shows with live audiences. That followed a year in which the fashion industry relied on “virtual” shows — online presentations of catwalk shows without audiences, or short films publicising the new collections.

The fashion house said the men’s Emporio Armani and Giorgio Armani shows for Fall/Winter 2022/23 during Milan Fashion Week this month would not go forward.

Also cancelled is the women’s Giorgio Armani Prive women’s show during the Paris Haute Couture week from January 24 to 27.

Contacted by AFP, the group said it had no plans for the moment to replace the shows with digital presentations.

Men’s Fashion Week in Milan, scheduled from January 14 to 18, had initially planned for 23 physical shows and the participation of 47 brands, including Ermenegildo Zegna, Fendi, Dolce & Gabbana and Prada.

Italy, like other countries around the world, is seeing a sharp rise in cases driven by the new Omicrom variant. On Monday, it reported over 68,000 new cases and 140 new Covid-related deaths. — AFP