Italy's fashion brands step in to save Milan's cathedral

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Milan's Duomo is undergoing construction work on its spires. Photo: AFP
11:57 CEST+02:00
Beauty comes at a cost; a truth known both to Italy's world famous fashion houses and those working on conserving its equally renowned historic monuments.

Several of the biggest names in Italian and international fashion are coming together to help save the Milan Duomo from falling into disrepair, by donating some of their garments for an auction in aid of the cathedral's ongoing restoration.

Armani, Gucci, Prada, Etro and Roberto Cavalli are just a few of the stylish names fighting to save the monument in Italy's fashion capital. Each fashion house and designer has donated clothes, jewellery, or accessories which will go under the hammer at an exclusive gala in the city's Royal Palace on April 19th.

All proceeds will go towards the ‘Adopt a Spire’ campaign run by Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano, the organization which has supervised restoration work on the cathedral for over seven centuries, having originally been established to oversee its construction.

The gala is sponsored by Italy’s National Chamber of Italian Fashion and Tiffany & Co., in collaboration with auction house Christie’s.

Unfortunately the gala is invitation only, but there’s still a chance to get your hands on some designer goods in the name of charity, as an auction of the designer goods will go live on online platform CharityStars from April 4th.

Italy is facing ongoing struggles to fund the preservation of its cultural treasures; the 500-year construction period of the Duomo has left it particularly vulnerable. As well as funding excavation and research work around the cathedral, conservation work is being carried out on the cathedral's facade, spires, vaults and floors and structural work.

The 135 huge spires are the focus of the project as their tall, slim structure leaves them vulnerable to weather damage, pollution and instability caused by rust and rainwater.

Previously, a crowdfunding campaign aimed at Americans raised over $160,000 for the Duomo's restoration, while the Adopt a Spire campaigners have also launched Valentine's Day, Father's Day, Mother's Day and International Women's Day promotions encouraging people to give donations to the project as gifts to loved ones.

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And it’s far from the first time that Italy’s fashion brands have stepped in to save the country’s historic monuments.

Rome's Trevi Fountain reopened last November after a €2 million clean-up sponsored by fashion house Fendi. Luxury jeweller Bulgari has begun cleaning up the city's famous Spanish Steps, while shoe manufacturer Tod's is financing works at the Colosseum.

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