It’s no secret that I just experienced by first-ever Milan Fashion Week as an accredited member of the press. If you followed along on Instagram or Facebook you may have seen my selfies with Chiara Ferragni and Bianca Balti that I could not help myself from posting! Actually, being in Milan myself had me taking selfies all over the place!
It was a pretty huge learning experience, and I will be sharing a long (which you know by now is my style) post for the Independent Fashion Bloggers website about how to get the most out of the Milan Fashion Week for Small and Medium bloggers.
So here’s the thing, when you don’t work in fashion you kind of assume that the only way to participate in a “fashion week” is by going to a Designer Brand’s Fashion Show. But honestly, those shows are attended by buyers, clients, celebrities, suppliers, brand managers, Editors, journalists, critics and of course the TOP fashion bloggers, so there really is no space for small bloggers, and certainly no space for bloggers as small as me!
So what? (you may ask) Did I get up to if I wasn’t attending fashion show after fashion show?
Well…… Everything else!
The Milan Fashion Week, which is organized by Italy’s National Fashion Board la Camera Moda, had many events other than the big label fashion shows, and when you think about it, these peripheral presentations make up the bulk of the fashion world. Only a very small percentage of all brands internationally actually have fashion shows, which require massive resources, not to mention a “total look”. Accessory brands, bag brands, shoe brands or up and coming/niche brands usually present as part of a trade show, Media Day or in a Showroom.
Today I wanted to share what I wore for a day of Showroom hopping in Milan. Don’t be fooled by the fact that Italy is a Meditteranean country it was CHILLY, and RAINING!! That didn’t seem to stop a ton of other fashion bloggers from wearing sandals and culottes in the hopes they got their street style photographs taken! And then there are the more sensible bloggers that look fantastic but also dressed for the season!
Showrooms Showrooms Showrooms
I was invited to view the collections of over THIRTY brands during the length of the fashion week. If you attend a fashion week you will find that the press day invitations and showroom openings are more abundant than the actual fashion show invites (fyi I was invited to 6 and only could attend 3 actual fashion shows).
Because I didn’t have enough time to visit all 30, I dedicated one day exclusively to showroom visits and concentrated on some of the more important brands that were all in Milan’s most exclusive Shopping/Showroom area which is basically the Via Monte Napoleone, Via Della Spiga, Via Sant’Andrea and also Corso Venezia, Via Senato and Via Gesù.
Housed in stunning turn of the century buildings you will find THE MOST luxury boutiques from Italian and International brands, 5 star+ hotels, some of the most exclusive (and expensive) bars, restaurants and cafes (I’ll be featuring a few in the March edition of the magazine!) and showrooms.
A showroom is like a store that is only available by appointment for buyers and the press. This is where buyers and merchandisers will come to view a brand’s latest sample collection and place a production order for the following season. Showrooms, unlike the actual “fashion week”, have a presentation period that usually lasts at least a few weeks if not months and usually brands that have fashion shows will support their efforts to sell the collection with one (if not many) showrooms around the world.
Over the years my husband and I have had our various brands in a number of showrooms in Milan, including a super exclusive one in this luxury area that specializes in the Arab luxury markets. Showrooms are an excellent way to ensure that your product gets as much visability as possible, also becuase it is impossible for buyers and members of the press to see all collections in a week, so you rely on them staying in Milan for an extra week to visit their favorite showrooms.
Top on my list was the invitation to view the collection by the historic Italian brand Borsalino, which has been making hand made luxury hats since 1857!
I must say that I LOVE their classic designs and recently they started to interpret designs from their archives that are right up my ally. I wasn’t very interested in their new collaboration this year with the urban “street style” brand Slam Jam, which I found to be passè, unflattering, too trendy and not in keeping with the Borsalino brand identity, so I stuck to trying on my favorite designs that were all more traditional.
Somethings were meant to evolve but not stray from their roots.
Alberto Guardiani is a brand that is doing “change” right, and I can’t wait to publish an interview with the Brand’s Creative and Marketing Directors, Serena and Rubina, two of three sisters in the Guardiani family. I have known the Guardiani brand for years because in the luxury men’s fashion world they are known for Men’s shoes that are both sophisticated and yet modern.
Not many men’s brands understand how to interpret their know-how from a highly artisan dress shoe to the more dynamic and contemporary world of women’s fashion, but they have DONE IT! I LOVED the collection and the presentation and they completely transformed their showroom, housed in the antique Palazzo Serbelloni to represent the identity of the current collection.
Perfect for a woman who wants to head to a board meeting in the morning and a cocktail at night without changing shoes, this dynamic duo pair of sisters are designing WITH WOMEN IN MIND!
Oh and did I mention, that of all the press days/fashion shows and events I attended this one was the most fun!! Instead of thin models showing me clothes that I will never fit into because of my petite stature or curvy hips, they had MEN….um….beautiful men….some would even call them “eye candy”, standing behind pedestals in a daytime disco with music blaring my favorite 70s tunes.
It was a catered event with delicious hors d’oeuvre, cocktails and Prosecco and the top members of the Brand’s staff were ALL there to meet the press and the celebrities that arrived. I was really thankful for a half hour interview that I will be sharing in the RTD Magazine and also for the 100 year old California based Italian Culture newspaper I know contribute to the Italo Americano.
What I Wore
I realized something about my own personal style last week. I’m pretty classic. I’m just a 35 and a half year old trying to age gracefully and I don’t feel like wearing Mickey Mouse ears or getting attention for looking like a pink and purple muppet. I want to stand out, but business is business and I much prefer a more elegant personal style, especially in these situations, as opposed to looking “trendy”.
I think I had 10 different people comment about how I was a “little lady”, or “elegant” or “classic”, all words I would have never used to describe myself. Perhaps it was because in a sea of fashion bloggers trying to draw attention to themselves at all costs by wearing the most outrageous things they could put together, we’ve forgotten about how good it feels to be simply “put together”.
On this rainy, windy day, I wore pantyhose in nude just to go against the whole “bare-leg in February” trend! I ‘m wore my Pierre Darrè “lady booties” that I bought this summer as part of a massive shoe haul (that I’ve written about here) and a belt that will NOT be going into my upcoming collection because my husband says it is too difficult to make, even though it is my most favorite design and I’ve been working on it for years. I need to convince him to make it, but he is SUCH a testa dura, (Italian hard head) and it seriously pisses me off!
This bag will soon receive its own post so that I can explain the story behind this rare and luxiourious leather and also show off the little coin purse that I designed (I even made the prototype myself!) and my father-in-law perfected with this very first sample. You’ll see this bag a few times as I share my #MFW outfits because it is pretty much the only one I ended up wearing since it fits EVERYTHING without becoming too heavy.
My coat is in Tuscan wool and along with my leather accessories line I’m also working with a Tuscan artisan for a new coat line as well including custom-fit tailored coats and ready to wear modern designs….more on this soon!
My open face cashmere cardigan is from the online store and brand Woolovers, and you can see this style here in a look a styled for a day in South Tyrol, Italy in the Dolomite mountains. My dress is by the luxury brand Solid and Striped and is a light denim blend with a vintage inspired collar. I cannot wait to style this dress in the spring and I really love the sexy and yet modest swimwear collection from this brand and also their jumpsuits in denim!
This Solid & Stiped dress is from Shopbop I just wanted to give you a head’s up that the MASSIVE Spring Sale at Shopbop.com just started today!! There may be some exclusions but you will not want to miss having a visit because the deals are incredible!
The #REASONSTODRESS DRESS TO IMPRESS LINKUP is officially launched!! Part of this new linkup is sharing with my readers fabulous style bloggers that I have found over my years on the web. Last week I introduced you to MICHELLE from RETRO CHIC MAMA! She was SUCH A FANTASTIC Co-Host and really made an effort to comment and get to know each and every person that linked up.
This week I didn’t arrange for a co-host because I knew I would be too busy to manage, the Fashion Week literally had me running around the city and I made lots of time to enjoy myself as it was also a mini vacation away from the big and little men in my life!!
& now….onto your style!
Welcome to the #REASONSTODRESS DRESS TO IMPRESS LINKUP for fashion and style bloggers!
This linkup is hosted by REASONS TO DRESS – An Italian lifestyle blog about an expat-Canadian married to an Italian leather artisan. Part of this new linkup is sharing up and coming style bloggers and we’re always looking for fabulous co-hosts who will be interviewed and featured – email firstname.lastname@example.org for info!
SHARE YOUR POST ON TWITTER with the hashtag #REASONSTODRESS & you’ll get a retweet from your hosts!
REASONS TO DRESS – An Italian Lifestyle Blog About Fashion, Travel & Life in Italy
- PLEASE : Linkup your STYLE related posts, new and old! Or Linkup a FASHION related picture from Instagram with the hashtag #REASONSTODRESS
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