Fashion week might be an endless parade of parties, paparazzi and freebies for some, but it's a different story for the people running the show. In our fashion week blogger series, industry insiders tell us what it's really like to be a part of the fashion week whirlwind.
Jodie Ball, WGSN fashion editor, talks us through her day at Milan Fashion Week.
The day begins with one of my favourite shows of the week, Marni. Wacky colour mixes, bold patterns – this season inspired by Constructivist geometrics, and a hefty dose of sequinned shimmer is probably one of the best ways to kick start a grey and drizzly morning in Milan. In honour of Marni's always upbeat mood, I decide to slip on my current favourite fashion week item – a vintage shantung silk pencil skirt in the most eye watering neon pink you've ever seen. But this after all is Milan, and you're nobody unless you wear a little black, so I pair it with a sheer black D&G shirt with a mad fluffy ruffled front, a camel coat from Zara and black spike-heeled Nicholas Kirkwood ankle boots. I actually got snapped for Grazia's street style pages wearing this skirt which was fun, but it made me cringe when a copy got passed round the WGSN offices!
It was a great collection, perhaps fewer sequins than usual so when the show finishes I nip backstage to get a closer look. I find glittery knits – which have been cropping up everywhere this season, and dyed furs – mink, fox, beaver and racoon. Italy loves fur but most of the British press have anti-fur policies so it doesn't get much editorial over here. Marni is also great for accessories – a core focus for my work at WGSN as I am responsible for all the catwalk trend analysis across footwear and accessories (including bags, jewellery and eyewear). I have to work out the key items, colours and materials for the season ahead by the time Paris finishes, so I am already forming my ideas now. Marni accessories have a very distinctive modular look but I'm feeling a real return to chunky heels this season, and the shoes with platform and block heel cut from one piece of wood would fit perfectly within this trend.
I realise I'm running late for my appointment at Emporio Armani and dash out to find my driver Luca. Luca is my company for the week as I travel alone for work; he encourages me to eat pizza (his favourite food) and plays James Brown on repeat all week. I don't have the heart to tell to tell him I can't bear listening to Sex Machine AGAIN. We pull up to the Armani showroom which is an oasis of calm after the chaos of Saturday's show – Armani draws big crowds in Milan and the nearby roads are always packed with people. It's important for me to schedule what we call "re-see appointments" after a show, as I get to see the collection in detail – I can touch the fabrics, examine the details and really get to grips with looks you see for just 30 seconds on the runway.
After a quick slice of pizza (Luca was finally satisfied) we head over to Bottega Veneta for another re-see. Co-incidentally I saw pizza being delivered to the showroom... it seems even super chic people eat pizza too! The show on Saturday was beautiful but you simply cannot appreciate the exquisite detailing until you get to hold it in your hands. There were purposely bobbled wools, suede-threaded crochet knits, oil-polished staining, crackled wax prints and eight different types of lace.
Then it's show time again and I head over to Dolce & Gabbana which is a hive of activity. I arrive just in time to grab my seat before the Teddy boys and ritzy glitzy girls dressed in the shiniest sequins you can imagine start their parade. It's a big show with multiple models on the runway at once, making it really hard for me to catch each look individually which is important as I have to write a detailed collection review for WGSN. But it was kitsch and fun with some great commercial print directions; expect to see pussy-bow blouses in star prints everywhere next season.
In quick succession I hit up the Missoni, Versus and Salvatore Ferragamo shows. Missoni offered beautiful colour – candy pastels that gently faded into one another on super soft knits while Ferragamo swapped the 70s of last season for a strong 80s look with power dressed city girls who looked ready to make some serious money on Wall Street in their pinstriped tailoring.
MyDaily's contributing editor Christopher Kane offered a small and focused collection for Versace's sister label Versus. He is obviously obsessed with Little Black Dresses at the moment – first presenting ones decorated with colourful gel-filled squiggles for his own line in London last week and now here, with glittery geometric prints and sexy cut-away panels that revealed sheer corsets with rigid boning. It's a strong season for LBDs which is great news because it's such a commercially viable trend.
And so my last day in Milan is over and I head straight for the airport, my head buzzing with everything I've seen. But before I can consider the trends, there is just enough flight time to settle down with a Bloody Mary (my in-flight drink), open the laptop and wonder how on earth I'm going to wrap up my whole day's activities into one blog post for MyDaily. Now let's see, what shall I cut out? My interview with Angela Missoni or the fact I saw boxed pizzas being delivered to the Bottega Veneta showroom... Hmmm, I know which I think is juicier!