Veronika Heilbrunner with the best of Milan Fashion Week Spring / Summer 2017
I’m always full of giant anticipation for Milan. Here, fashion is simply spelled in capital letters and the entire city is at the starting blocks for Fashion Week. But I especially enjoy wandering down the small alleys and that joy you feel when you unexpectedly catch a glimpse of an especially beautiful, well-hidden, heavenly courtyard – and the FOOD, of course!! Bebel’s, Bice, and Da Giacomo are restaurants that always work. And absolutely order the tramezzini at Cova and a cappuccino with pastries on the side at Marchesi. Most of the time I can’t even manage the half of it, but the selection is just too tempting.
This time, my calendar was exploding with shop openings and revivals. Just to list a few that I don’t go into detail about below: the So Milano opening with J.W. Anderson; the pop up by La Double J, JJ Martin’s wonderful own collection; Tomas Maier’s anniversary at Bottega Veneta (he’s been in the service of understated luxury there for 15 years) and the magnificent finale with Lauren Hutton and Gigi Hadid; and so many more!
Personal Moment of Happiness and “Best-of-Everything”: Gucci!
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The invitation alone! One of those old-fashioned ones that unfolded itself into a stunning 3D theater. Even on the way to the show I was being bombarded with many, many Insta moments with the ticket, sometimes from the front, back, above, below, with or without people in the shot, and so on. Normally, I’d hold back my contribution on the topic because I think there doesn’t have to be another post about it, especially when everyone else was faster. But I just couldn’t resist .
A little bit of sun made an exception and pushed through the grey clouds above the show grounds on Via Valtellina (starting next time, the shows will be held at the new HQ near Milan Linate Airport).
In the end, it seemed like Gucci’s creative director Alessandro Michele had booked the stormy thunderclouds and irrepressible rain to add some extra drama to his shows. Inside it was an octave darker, and plushier for it. In the dim, pink-washed light, the almost endlessly large warehouse comfortably appeared like a chic, nefarious nightclub from another time. And it gets even better: the public (aka the show guests) were allowed to take a seat on welcomingly cozy velvet sofas in the hall, which was fitted with thousands upon thousands of curtains loaded with metallic lamella. The equally rose-colored carpet (what else!) with red and green stripes and stars gets a big checkmark for social media compatibility alone (#fromwhereisit #fromwhereistand #fromwhereiwatchgucci paradise).
You’re almost forgetting to pay attention to the fashion as dramatic, classic tones ring out with a monotone, hypnotic sounding woman’s voice speaking over them. Then it hit me like a slap across the face. No, almost every look hit me like a small bolt of lightning. I agree with the critics: Michele isn’t reinventing himself with this collection. But that’s exactly what I’m so thankful for because, as far as I’m concerned, this wonderful tale can happily go on forever. And when you look closely, you discover an infinite number of new things, but in a familiar manner. But I love that so much because it means that I don’t have to replace my whole wardrobe, and rather just add these fantastic new pieces to it. And I’m just speaking now in the plural as a precaution, because I find the choice difficult by the shoes alone. Until recently, I had secretly declared war on these delicate, classic, strappy stilettos (“I will never wear you!”), but now, in this environment and worn over latex stockings, they suddenly look unspeakably cool.
But the extra-clever platform sandals that you can remove the loafer slides from and then make two pairs of shoes out of one with… Hello! What finesse!
The XL GG Marmont, the giant disco sunglasses (naturally with pink lenses), the three-piece tweed suit with a hood, the David Bowie sequined leggings…I could go on forever talking about it. Let’s not forget the fabulous casting. In conclusion, the quote that Michele selected for the collection text:
“Literature was not born the day when a boy crying ‘wolf, wolf ’ came running out of the Neanderthal valley with a big gray wolf at his heels; literature was born on the day when a boy came crying ‘wolf, wolf ’ and there was no wolf behind him” (Vladimir Nabokov)
Did I already say that I’m Gucci #obsessed?
Re-See Moment: Prada
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The “re-see” (the date after the show where the press and buyers can see all the looks again up close) is especially essential at Prada. That’s because with Miuccia, a lot is hidden in the details. And the obvious is often very different in reality.
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At this show, however, I found it to be extreme. The stairway runway (which we already know from the Men’s/Resort Show 2016 in June) was lined with large-format screens playing slowed-down trailer sequences from Past Forward, the David O. Russel directed film for and by Prada. And in trying to follow what was happening, I didn’t catch much aside from look 1. But I found it all the more exciting for it: back to the future with a black, cropped tank top and pleated skirt, fantastically simple and still so ingeniously Prada.
On a fresh trip to the showplace, but this time with the looks on mannequins that you could walk up close to, I found far too much beauty and excitement. Starting with the plastic sandals with or without platforms. My favorites in chocolate brown. Marabou feather seams on fluidly soft, knee-length skirts and, for the Chinese market (and fans like me ), any number of cheongsam shapes.
Outstanding Shop Opening: Dolce & Gabbana
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For the opening for the new boutique on Via Montenapoleone (yes, Dolce still makes the majority of its sales in Milan, which also explains why the label counts a proud seven shops of its own in the city’s “Bermuda Triangle of Luxury”, Corso Venezia – Via Montenapoleone – Via della Spiga), Dolce & Gabbana hosted a dinner and a party that followed. Fun fact: the dinner took place on Via Montenpoleone itself. The luxury mile was already half blocked-off by afternoon, which on a shopping Sunday in Milan must have meant an absolute super chaos. The 420-person strong guest list didn’t just include select members of the press and buyers, influencers, and bloggers from all over the world as well as model/musician Lucky Blue Smith and his three sisters (aka The Atomics), but also the entire city council – including the mayor )!
New Impulse: Hairstyling at Fendi
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I found the hairstyling at Fendi a little weird, but definitely interesting: there were a pair of Baby Spice “bunny ear” (or to use the trendy term, “topknot”) pigtails, asymmetrical and lopsided (back in school, we called this hairdo – which just about everyone with long hair and growing out bangs wore once – the “bimbo palm tree”!)
It fit great, like a gimmick and in contrast to the exquisite pastel-colored silk dresses that were drenched in beauty and lightness, and also as an extra wink to the apron dresses. That Chiara Ferragni (interestingly placed next to Delfina Delettrez) even wore exactly this high knot pigtail to the show (and if you look at her recently re-launched blog, also at every otherwise free minute). Actually, only Karl Lagerfeld can come up with such ideas. P.S.: the knitted sock-sneakers (à la Flyknit) and booties are terrific!
Favorite Dinner: Chloé at Palazzo Crespi
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Chloé hosted a spectacular dinner on the occasion of the re-opening on Via della Spiga. It dawned on me already as I arrived… a palazzo address on Corso Venezia is major, and I was already aware as I climbed the marble stairs that I would soon be immersed in an unparalleled space. And so it was.
Completely shocked by the chandeliers in the entry hall alone and in my best Fashion Week manner, I pulled out my smartphone which (practically) was in any case still in Instastories mode. Splendid material – for a second – because then I was given a sturdy warning about the photo ban, had to delete everything immediately, and then was unpleasantly pointed to the many info boards (which, of course, also looked very chic). Oops. What an entrance.
Luckily, creative director Clare Waight Keller was sitting in the middle of her guests (including the fantastic models Ari Westphal and Sofie Hemmet) on the picturesque balcony terrace which arguably offered up the heart of Milan (and there is a lot of competition here!!!) and lounged with a view of a stone pool/pond/basin/whatever…it looked amazing! Fun facts that I learned over the course of the evening: the Comtessa, who rents out her family estate for special evenings like this one, puts her sons in chic suits and, instead of security, they very stylishly guard the rooms hung with spectacular paintings by Canaletto (probably the two biggest works by the painter). That’s what I call ingenuity.
This enthusiasm sadly went so far that the announced menu prepared by Daniel de la Falaise didn’t happen, and rather the family chef was allowed to or had to jump in. Whatever, for me the evening was a great celebration, maybe also because I was allowed to sit in the pole position between JJ Martin und Dan Thawley. #chloegirlsandboys!
Best Party: The ten-year anniversary of Gianvito Rossi!
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Of course it wasn’t a surprise that Gianvito, the man – no, specialist – didn’t place himself at the center of the party, but rather his creations. However, the (very reserved) master of perfected “minimal sexy chic” did splash out and the theme of the collection already says it all: “Women are Cocktails”! Should be called elegant satin sandals filled with crystal cherries, lemons, olives, and umbrellas. The celebration took place in the gorgeous Societá Giardino and the drinkable cocktails had appropriately festive names.
Best Show: Versace!
A show like this can only take place in Milan and staged by Italians. Again in this colossus of a congress center, which you finally arrive at after many escalator rides, and surprised by the turbine-like club atmosphere (Donatella’s version of Berghain?), the base of techno sounds boom and drone in your core and Edie Campbell, Anna Ewers, Mariacarla Boscono, and of course the omnipresent-in-Milan Hadid sisters teeter past you in their best supermodel manner wearing colorful sport looks, sharply cut silk jersey, or also (my favorite part) party dresses covered through and through with crystals. #obsessed
More Impressions from Milan Fashion Week
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Translation: Melissa Frost
Born and raised in Munich/Germany, Veronika’s professional career has developed from being a model to a fashion editor, to online luxury retailing and most recently style editor of Harpers Bazaar Germany. She currently lives in Berlin where in the beginning of 2015 she started a company with Julia Knolle, the ex-editor at large of Vogue Digital.
Oh, and she loves pugs!