The underside of milan fashion week
between glitter and reality
New York, London, Paris and Milan: the "Big Four". This is how the most prestigious Fashion Weeks are called. It was through social networks, the stories of the shows that celebrities published, as well as the articles and photos that I could discover on Vogue, that I tried to live Fashion Week every year. Despite the fact that I could only watch it through my screen, one thing is for sure, I was always looking forward to it. To my delight, I was lucky enough to attend for the very first time this year.
Seeing Milan in a completely different light was something I was looking forward to. Indeed, a city is completely transformed when it hosts the fashion industry for a week. Milan during Fashion Week is all about passing models on the street, seeing people dressed in their best or witnessing crowds when a public figure makes an appearance. It's a whole other world, a world that may or may not make you dream.
For fashion lovers, it is a great pleasure to be able to admire streetstyle. Milanese don't hesitate to take public transport with their craziest pieces, their highest heels or to combine colours that shouldn't go together. It's simply inspiring, it brings the city to life and it's eye-catching.
What brought me to Milan during this Fashion Week was the work. I was lucky enough to get an internship with a Chinese brand. During these ten days, I accompanied the brand as an assistant stylist and I helped to organise the fashion show. The bottom line is that I loved it. I am extremely grateful for this opportunity, although I must admit that it was not easy. The fashion industry is one that many of us dream about and seems to be full of glitz and glamour, but it is also an industry that requires a lot of hard work and sacrifice, especially in the beginning. The industry is so sought after, even stifled, that there are an infinite number of people who could take our place, so we sacrifice good nights sleep and skip meals, but we have to give it our all.
My typical day went like this: after a quick trip to the local café for my cappuccino, I arrived at the office at around 9am. The PR & Communication team and the boss were already there. Some of the models were sitting on the sofas waiting for their turn for fittings. Together with Daniela, the stylist, we were busy trying to create looks with the collection the designer had sent us. We also took care of the fittings and there were a lot of them. We had to find the perfect model for each outfit. Some of the outfits required very tall models and others required smaller ones. It was therefore essential to pay particular attention to even the most subtle details. Then, if an outfit worked well on a model, it had to be accessorised. If the model's look wasn't deep enough, we would add a pair of sunglasses to make the look more exciting. If the outfit was too basic, we could have fun adding a bag or jewellery. Well, "fun" might not be the best word to use... Moreover, all the looks were photographed by my colleague Kie, who sent them to the designer in China. She had to validate everything and, needless to say, some models were left for more than an hour to find a suitable look... Despite this, it was a time of the day that I particularly liked because I could get to know the models and ask them about their background. Then, after having worked on more than fifteen models and neglected my lunch break, we had to work on the line-up of the show. This is essential to tell the story of the collection. It is important to choose an opening look, as well as a closing look, both of which will remain in the public's memory. In addition, some looks were particularly suitable for several different models. We had to choose the best model by evaluating the time needed to change the outfit if the model already had another look. To do this, we had a board with photos of all the looks and all the models. And that was a real headache...
And all this, for a 15-minute parade... it may seem more than absurd to some! But it's a huge organisation that is hard to comprehend. More than sixty people backstage: dressers, hair stylists, make-up artists, photographers, line-up directors, technicians and so on. The brand's designer, who was unable to attend her own show, had planned more than fifty looks. This led us to select more than forty models. So it was a huge show. When I got there, I was immediately very impressed. As soon as I realised that it was finally D-Day, I had to immerse myself in the organisation and management of the show. As far as the models are concerned, they go through make-up and hair, find out their looks on the day, get dressed, have a quick rehearsal and then it's off to the catwalk. I can say that it is a real relief when it is all over. Over six months of work for the designer and a whole collection to unveil to the fashion world. But it's done. And, I'm happy to say, it went well!
Unfortunately I didn't have time to see which celebrity was sitting on the front row. However, the front row is made up of public figures, who have to showcase the brand by sharing their favourite looks. From editors of famous magazines to important people from the press, buyers and photographers, they all have their own place.
I was always told that Milan was much more accessible than Paris Fashion Week, so I had to try to attend shows and after-parties. I was lucky enough to meet a wonderful colleague, who took me with her to some of the events. And I can say this... I managed to get myself into some fashion shows and parties. Dressing well, gaining a bit of confidence, giving a name that is not your own, and seconds later you are there. So I know it doesn't work every time, but for me it worked. And it was amazing.
To conclude this article, which I had a lot of fun writing, I want to talk about the atmosphere and the people I met during these ten days. I've always been told that the fashion industry is full of unhealthy and ill-intentioned people, and unfortunately this proved to be true. You will not be spared. If you want to practice and hold your own in such an industry, you have to create a sort of shell and be careful of people who may sometimes behave abusively or badly towards you. However, I have also been lucky enough to meet some great people, who have taught me a lot and have been kind to me. I also enjoyed working with the models, who were often very young, a bit lost, but lovely. It was a very enriching experience during which I was able to meet passionate individuals who were ready to do anything to excel in this world of fashion that offers countless opportunities.