Hey, gidday mates! We came, we saw, we conquered. NYC to Milan and back, Thursday to Tuesday, four and a half days, in and out. Or so we thought.
On Thursday afternoon, 30 minutes before we were scheduled to leave my apartment for JFK, we got an email from British Airways saying that our transfer flight from London to Milan had been canceled the next morning. The next two hours were spent on the phone attempting to rebook with no luck whatsoever, and at about the 90 minute point the call center guru decided it might be a pertinent time to tell us that all the major Italian airports were closed on Friday due to a strike. Awesome!
So we wracked our brains and came up with the following solution: New York to London, London to Zurich, Zurich to Milan by train. Which is exactly what we did. And 22 or so hours later, at about 7:30pm local time in Milan, we’d arrived.
Milan Fashion Week was going to be a different experience for us this season, due to the fact that the schedule was so much lighter than usual. Zegna, which shows twice every MFW, had taken itself off the docket; as had Costume National and a bunch of other regulars; and the final day featured Giorgio Armani and nothing else. We also weren’t able to stay at our favorite digs, Hotel 22 Marzo, so we got an Airbnb in the canal district, about a 15 minute walk from the Duomo.
I’ve been traveling to Milan for the shows twice a year since 2009, and no joke I can count the amount of restaurants I’ve been to on less than two hands. Milan for me is the city where the real fashion week begins — it’s go, go, go from the moment I arrive, from show to show to show, then home to write for whatever publication I was writing for, then sleep, then wake up, rinse and repeat. This time round I wanted to shake things up. We went to shows, we ate at beautiful restaurants, we walked around the city holding hands and eating ice creams and doing things that normal people do when they’re in a beautiful European city. And guess what! I enjoyed myself more than I ever have before.
Highlights from the week include:
- Busta Rhymes performing live at Philipp Plein (Jenny and I were the first people to get up out of our seats to dance), alongside the Harlem Globetrotters and these really fresh American champion cheerleaders — more is more is more with that guy.
- Versace’s ultralight coats which floated along weightlessly behind the models, the appearance of my old Kiwi mate Stella Maxwell on the catwalk, and Bruce Weber’s short film about Chicago, which wasn’t that dissimilar to an 80s Milli Vanilli music video, but with Karlie Kloss and Gigi Hadid dancing along behind inner city kids.
- Santoni’s footwear installation, which featured a giant white box setup in a centuries-old Milanese palace, with little peep-holes through which we looked at the shoes. The best bit — every few holes, you’d take a look and be extremely surprised by a pair of very live feet suspended inside the box. Brilliant, and perfect fodder for Snapchat.
- Missoni’s show, which took place outdoors but under cover during a crazy rainstorm, and featured the most ethnically diverse cast of the week, plus, as always, the most beautiful, intricately knitted, colorful pieces of clothing you’ve ever seen. That brand is definitely topping my list of favorites forever.
- Prada’s show, which was kinda like a luxury take on hiking/camping activewear. Special mention goes out to those colorful handbags for the girls. I spent quite a bit of time in the actual Prada store in Montenapoleone on this trip, and when you see the product up close, you get it. Trust me. Even if you don’t always get it when you see it on the runway, you get it once you see it in store. Bank account is about to take a beating.
- And of course, the final standalone men’s Gucci show. As of next season, Gucci will be combining the men’s and women’s shows, so we’ll no longer see it during the men’s week (whether or not that will occur for the rest of the brands remains to be seen), and it was an extravaganza of color and patterns and prints on prints and appliqué and everything else you can possibly imagine. Gucci is another brand that you see on the runway and you’re like, WTF, and then in store you’re like, oh I would definitely wear this denim jacket with the shearling lining and the colorful patched birds on the chest. You gotta see it to believe it.
And honorable mentions go to our friends Jonathan Daniel Pryce and Lauren Luxenberg who hung out and shot with me and Jenny at every opportunity, all the amazing restaurants we ate at, but especially Il Tavolino, which we ate at with our mate Serena Goh from NYC, and finally, to the photos taken by Dan Roberts for GQ USA. He’s a fellow Kiwi so maybe I’m a little biased, but that guy goes from strength to strength every season. Love his work.
Photos: Christian Styleograph for Getty; Stefano Carloni for Hypebeast; Phil Oh for Vogue (we’re only in the background, but still… lolz); Dan Roberts for GQ; and Jonathan Daniel Pryce for Vogue Hommes.
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