Milan fashion week has been one to remember. With its first-ever “phygital” display, this year’s runways have seen some exceptional moments. Models Precious Lee, Imaan Hammam, and Ashley Graham, in particular, have emerged as the spotlight stars of Milan fashion week. Each model a part of a pioneering moment, these three women champion diversity and beauty all the while starring on a few of the world’s most renowned runways.
Lee was a star of Versace’s historic catwalk, featuring the first plus-size models to walk in its show. Versace followed in Fendi’s footsteps when Paloma Elsesser and Jill Kortleve became the first plus-sized models to walk the catwalk for the fashion house. Lee, who also experienced her Milan fashion week debut, was joined by fellow plus-sized models Kortleve and Alva Claire for Versace’s momentous show.
The model’s stunning display as part of Versace’s presentation comes years after the fashion house’s artistic director, Donatella Versace spoke about her views on plus-sized models. “Plus-sized women shouldn’t think of themselves as a size,” Versace told Time in 2008. “They should think of themselves as women with rich goals in life. Size doesn’t mean, really, anything. You can carry your size with pride and dress in a way that you like.”
Speaking about her Milan fashion week debut and walking the runway for Versace’s SS21 collection, Lee took to Instagram to share, “I will never forget this moment and how I felt before walking out. The power and beauty of this brand has ALWAYS inspired me & now to be the first…wow”.
Hammam joined Lee on the runway for Versace’s SS21 show and is also part of the movement to make fashion shows more diverse. The Dutch model with Moroccan and Egyptian heritage, who has walked the runways of some of the biggest labels, featured at Milan fashion week appearing in the shows for Fendi, Versace, and Alberta Ferretti. The former Vogue Arabia cover star has quickly become a fashion week regular over the past few years and has developed longtime relationships with major fashion houses, like Versace.
Last but by no means least, Graham returned to Milan fashion week walking for Fendi’s stellar showcase. It marked Graham’s return to the runway after welcoming her first child, Isaac, in January. The model’s return was more than a welcome one during the presentation of Fendi’s SS21 collection which saw Silvia Venturini Fendi‘s final solo showcase, as Kim Jones steps in as the new artistic director for womenswear next season. The former Vogue Arabia cover star, who has always been a voice for body positivity and self-acceptance within the industry, walked the runways for Fendi on Wednesday, and Etro on Thursday. “It has been such a difficult ear for everyone and I’m so impressed by the fashion industry’s resilience and quick adapting. Thank you to everyone who helped me (safely) get back to the runway. I missed it so much!” Graham said.