by Andrea Munari
MONACO. The Chambre Monégasque de la Mode, Fashion Council of the Principality of Monaco, created in April 2009, represents the Monegasque creators and brands. Its objective is twofold: to represent and spread the values of Monegasque fashion and “Made in Monaco” creativity at an international level and promote the Principality of Monaco as an international fashion platform. The Chambre Monégasque de la Mode in partnership with the Government of the Principality, the City Hall of Monaco and the Monte-Carlo Tourist Office has organized the Monte-Carlo Fashion Week (MCFW ©) since 2013. The event has been supported by H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco and his Family. Federica Nardoni Spinetta, Italian, born in Alassio and raised in Milan, has lived in Monaco for 25 years. She is President and Founder of the Chambre Monégasque de la Mode and of the Monte-Carlo Fashion Week. In 2005 she founded the Monegasque brand Beach & Cashmere Monaco. She is a Member of the Board of the Chamber of Commerce (MEB), of the Federation and Trade Unions of Monaco (FEDEM) and the Business Women Association and Femmes Leaders; Secretary General of the Italian Entrepreneurs Association (AIIM). She was appointed Knight of the Order of the Star of Italy. She has received several honorary distinctions and also the Look of the Year Award for her own brand.
How your passion for fashion was born and what prompted you to create the CMM? “I have always loved fashion. When I was a young girl, I drew sketches of clothes and had them made. Also, one of my passions has always been painting and I have made several paintings on clothes. In Monaco I decided to create and launch my brand: Beach & Cashmere Monaco, which this year celebrates 15 years of existence. I have always been actively involved in the economic and associative life of the Principality of Monaco. For me, being an entrepreneur is a vocation and a passion and living in a country means actively participating in its economic life. So, in 2009 I had the idea and my project was enthusiastically received by the Monegasque brands Elizabeth Wessel and Banana Moon. Together with them we created the Chambre Monégasque de la Mode.”
How and why did you resolve to create a National Chamber of Fashion in a small country like Monaco? “We created it to federate the Monegasque fashion brands, to enhance Made-In-Monaco creativity internationally and promote Monaco as an international fashion platform. In order to achieve these objectives, we have therefore organized many fashion shows and events, such as the “A night in Monte-Carlo” event in Milan with the support of the Government and the Principality’s Tourist Office, or the “Fashion is game” event in partnership with the National Chamber of Italian Fashion (CNMI) and SBM, or with the shows for the Annual Gala of the Monaco Tourist Office, as well as the charity shows organized for the Foundation of H.S.H. the Princess Charlene of Monaco or the Lions Club of Monaco. A fundamental turning point in achieving the objectives of the Chambre Monégasque de la Mode was the establishment in 2013 of the Monte-Carlo Fashion Week (MCFW ©).”
Was it difficult to convince stylists and professionals in the sector to collaborate and participate in your events? “The Monte-Carlo Fashion Week, at its ninth edition in 2021, has managed to grow year by year, both in the number of participating international brands, in the number of days and presentations, as well in the number of collateral events. The last physical edition, in 2019 saw the participation of 40 brands from 15 different countries for 5 days of fashion shows, presentations, conferences and lifestyle events, while the digital edition of 2020 was attended by 42 brands from 17 countries. Another key of the success is having placed the emphasis on sustainability. The event has been able to establish itself in the world of fashion weeks thanks to its truly innovative spirit which, year after year, has imposed a virtuous model to be developed at 360 degrees: no longer think green, but act green. Furthermore, the commitment of Monte-Carlo Fashion Week in a charity perspective is also primary, supporting the Princess Charlene Foundation, whose main objective is to save lives by fighting against drowning.”
Are there any fashion sectors that you favour during your fashion shows? “The Monte-Carlo Fashion Week is dedicated to the Resort, Cruise and Capsule collections. Over the years, well-known international designers have chosen the Monegasque stage to present their Resort Collections, Pre-Collections and Capsules in a world preview. Emerging designers are chosen on the basis of scouting, which takes into account several factors, such as creativity, sustainability, but also the internationality of the brands. Being sustainable today is more than ever a real way of being and living for the designers hosted by the Monte-Carlo Fashion Week.”
What does your decision to assign the fashion awards consist of?
“In 2015 the Chambre Monégasque de la Mode established the Monte-Carlo Fashion Awards, prizes given to prominent personalities in the different segments of the fashion scene. The prizes, created by CMM and designed by Brazilian artist Marcos Marin, are awarded during the MCFW Gala evening. Over the years, many personalities and stylists have been awarded, including Naomi Campbell, Tommy Hilfiger, Philipp Plein, Alberta Ferretti, Etro, Ermanno Scervino, Chapurin, Stella Jean, Gilberto Calzolari, as well as the Institut Français de la Mode or the photographers Giovanni Gastel, German Larkin, Vanessa von Zitzewitz.”
Many forward-looking houses and brands of different size are creating and producing with attention to the environment. In what way are you committed in this field? “Attention to ethical and sustainable fashion is one of the fundamental objectives of CMM, which wants to raise public awareness on the importance of protecting our planet, following the guidelines and values of H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco. The mission carried out by the Chambre Monégasque de la Mode is, in fact, to increasingly enhance the path of forward-looking houses and brands, capable of changing the traditional economic model by combining business with attention to the environment and create shared value and collaborate to achieve sustainable development goals. Personally, I am extremely sensitive and very committed on the ecological front. “Eco is a lifestyle, it’s a question of attitude, it’s a dress that you wear with the awareness of making your contribution to having a really better world”. For many years with my brand Beach & Cashmere Monaco I have created and produced sustainable collections. To put more emphasis on Sustainability, in 2016 with the Chambre Monégasque de la Mode we created the Ethical & Sustainable Fashion Award to honor brands that play an active role in encouraging positive change, producing high-quality clothing that respects the environment. Over the years there have been names such as: Stella Jean; Tatiana Santo Domingo Casiraghi for her brand Muzungu Sisters; the Indian designer Rahul Mishra; Alberta Ferretti for her Earth Collection; and Ingie Chalhoub. In 2020 the Sustainable Award has been attributed by the Sustainability Contest, which awarded the Mexican brand Desserto for the production of vegan leather by the cactus leaves. The Contest focused the spotlight on more than forty sustainable brands from 17 different countries, and with their support I created the #SUSTAINABLETOGETHER movement immortalized by a shot that united all the participants in a single choir, to support ethical consciousness, creating a better and cleaner world for the generations to come.”
In 2020, the health emergency knocked over many programs. You have managed not to cancel last year’s edition. What solution have you adopted and with what results? “The Monte-Carlo Fashion Week has been able to reinvent itself, launching a totally digital edition, inaugurating a new way of doing fashion. It was an extraordinary week, which made us travel, in a virtual way, across 17 countries of the world and made us discover more than forty brands that stand out in terms of sustainability. Each of them has enclosed its essence and its innovative vision, in a video shot in lockdown or in the post lockdown days, spread on the social medias of Monte-Carlo Fashion Week and on Fashion Channel, partner of the event. We created the “2020 MCFW SERIES A CONVERSATION WITH …”, captivating and interactive live talks with the important protagonists of the international fashion scene: Tommy Hilfiger and Dee Ocleppo Hilfiger, Alberta Ferretti, Stella Jean, Gilberto Calzolari, Sara Cavazza Facchini di Genny, Ingie Chalhoub, Founder and President of the Etoile Group in Dubai and designer of her brand Ingie Paris, the photographers German Larkin and Vanessa von Zitzewitz, model and youtuber Twan Kuyper from Los Angeles. To open the Monte-Carlo Fashion Week, the “Conversation with” Pauline Ducruet, daughter of H.S.H. Princess Stephanie of Monaco and founder of the genderless brand Alter. The closing was sealed by Sara Maino Sozzani of Vogue.”
Your digital edition has attracted the attention of professionals from other countries. Has it been surprising?
“Thanks also to the technological support of our partner Fashion Channel, we are proud to have been one of the first Fashion Weeks to launch a totally digital edition on social channels and to have attracted the attention of professionals from other countries, where the most important Fashion Weeks take place. We are proud of this success, which is an incentive to give even more for the future.”
What is the MCFW 2021 project and what are the variables in case the health emergency continues?
“The next edition will be held from 14 to 18 May 2021, with shows, presentations, conferences, meetings and talks and the renowned Awards Ceremony. We hope to be able to carry out the edition in a physical way, but if the health emergency continues, we are ready to organize it in a Phygital way, half physical and half digital or if the situation is very serious not to allow any physical event, we are ready for a totally digital version, based on the experience of the one held in 2020. Obviously we are in close contact with the Authorities and we will evaluate with them the decisions to be taken.”
How do you evaluate the today position of CMM at an international level? “Thanks to the professionalism of the organized events, the CMM has achieved international respectability, both for its capability of “scouting” young emerging designers, and for the quality of the collections presented, as well as for its commitment and attention to sustainable fashion. The CMM, through the Monte-Carlo Fashion Week, an international event that promotes innovative designers and moments of reflection on issues related to sustainability, has become an important reference point for “Green” fashion. Over the years, the CMM has also promoted partnerships and collaborations between Monaco and other countries.”
What is the best moment you guard as unforgettable memory? “I will never forget the emotion of hosting Naomi Campbell, rewarding her and seeing her happiness in receiving the Award, but also unforgettable the thrill of supporting young designers, like the memory of a young designer making her debut on the catwalk and seeing her in the backstage at the end of the show crying of happiness for succeeding her dream.”