I visited Milan for the first time during Fashion Week of February 2015. I’ve been visiting twice a year since then, but have still never stepped inside the Duomo – that’s how hectic my time there is.

I keep getting asked which fashion week I prefer, but it’s hard to choose. Based purely on the city atmosphere, London wins. Milan is definitely an interesting city and it is most definitely a fashion capital, but it also feels cold and unwelcoming and many places outside the pretty city centre are really quite bare and industrial.

London, on the other hand, is a place I visit time and time again. Both for fashion week and other reasons, it is a place I love. I’ve never lived there and the gloomy weather would probably prevent me ever making it my home, but the minute I land there I  feel invigorated.

Both cities take their fashion weeks very seriously. They are a huge source of income for them and generate a lot of business. London, I feel, really goes out of its way to capitalise on the event. There are offers in shops, grooming lounges being set up for influencers and editors, parties everywhere and all sorts of other off-calendar events and shows.

Many of these are private enterprise set-ups but, in general, the mood and feeling is that there’s a tonne of fashion-related events taking place in one week. There are also fashion talks and this is one of my favourite bits – industry experts hold discussions about what it took to get them there, what battles they had to fight and where they see the industry headed.

In both cities, as accredited press or as buyer, you gain access to the press rooms and can get your hair and make done at the on-site salons, which can feel really amazing when you’re almost burnt out.

There are many choices on how to spend your time at fashion week. There are showrooms where one can inspect the items and speak to the PR person. This is especially useful for buyers who might want to view the price list and inspect the garment.

Both cities take their fashion weeks very seriously. They are a huge source of income for them and generate a lot of business

Then there are show presentations, many times using models, unless they’re focusing on accessories. There are also the catwalk shows which, while only about 10 minutes long, take up much more time when you consider travelling, waiting for the show to begin and all the rest.

Then there’s backstage – this is one of my favourite aspects of the shows. The atmosphere is not as stressful as you would think. Even though a lot is at stake, the truth is that these teams are so experienced and have been doing this for so long, that the stress levels are not that high. I’m sure there are occasions when things go wrong but, again, they’ve dealt with similar situations before decisions are reached quickly and calmly.

I decided to relax a little bit more than usual in London this time. I normally try to attend every show I get invited to, every event and every party. I still went to a great many things, but I also took the evenings off.

On two separate evenings I went for dinner at the Shangri-la Shard and the Dorchester. Taking these nights off, exiting the scene of fashion week for those few hours was actually a great idea. It gave me time to relax and unwind. Sometimes I tend to forget that relaxing is necessary and I just keep going.

Every season has its highlights and this one had its fair share. In London, the Aspinal presentation had such a gorgeous set-up, it was almost like walking into a girl’s pink dream, one that was filled with unbelievably beautiful bags. The Ashish show, despite coming with a pre-warning involving a snake, was a sequin enchantment.

In Milan, some of my favourite highlights were backstage at Moschino and Etro, while also watching their respective shows. At Moschino it was interesting to watch them create this perfect, somewhat old school 1990s make-up. Nowadays, you rarely see this sort of make-up on the catwalk anymore. There was also a stellar model line-up – at one point there was an audible pause when model sisters Gigi and Bella Hadid walked in backstage, and a whole second later, an onslaught of camera action ensued. Both sisters are indeed perfect human specimens.

At Etro, everything from the water bottles to the sofa to sit on backstage, to the cushions each guest was given to sit on throughout the show and take home as a gift, displayed the famous Etro patterns.

The Bvlgari Hotel always holds the Bvlgari presentation and this location is like a secret corner of heaven.

Their bags for 2017 speak undeniable luxury with the brightest, most vivid colours, while at Giuseppe Zanotti a literal shoe fairytale awaited us. At Brunello Cuccinelli and Hogan guests were treated to an atmospheric dinner party – in the case of the former, with every kind of Italian delicacy imaginable.

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us