Recently we went photo hunting–it was a beautiful Sunday in Milan and fashion week was wrapping to a close. The streets in the fashion district brimmed with trendy types and photographers with telephoto lenses stalked them, hiding behind traffic signs or at the curb between cars. We did likewise, snagging a few frames with our gear.
Later, we followed the sounds of loud music and found the venue for the John Richmond show, held in a lush garden behind Corso Venezia. It was lunchtime; only a small, steadfast group waited outside the gates for celebrity attendees to exit. When Italian television star, Belen Rodriguez (of Argentine descent), and her brand new husband, Stefano, emerged, people scrambled, clicking madly.
“You’re so beautiful,” one woman said, gushing.
“I love your ring,” said another, referring to her huge diamond. “Good luck on your marriage.”
“Thank you,” Belen smiled. She seemed tired by the hoopla; she had married Stefano just two days prior in the midst of a media frenzy.
The crowd thinned and by the time Jane Hamilton, star of the TV serial, “Elisa di Rivombrosa,” emerged, just a few bystanders were on hand. Two men asked to have their pictures taken with her; she graciously complied.
Journalists from the Russian World Fashion network worked the crowd. “I like your shoes,” said the journalist to one man in a fedora. “Where did you buy them?”
Later, to one side of the Metropole theater where the D&G show was underway, the ticketless congregated on the street, here too snapping their cameras at anyone who looked fashionable.
“Who is that?” I asked one man in a baseball cap who was avidly immortalizing a blond. The man shrugged.
“I don’t know, but she looks good doesn’t she?” he said.
“She’s a blogger,” said a woman in a black tunic printed with green dinosaurs. “No, don’t know her name,” she answered when I asked.
We drifted toward the corner where several tall, thin, photogenic types in eccentric costumes—former models I wondered?—paraded back and forth as if they themselves were on the runway, enjoying D&G’s reflected light. A masquerade rave in via Piave.
We were back at the Metropole entrance in time for a glimpse of the D&G grand finale. From our vantage point, we could see through the glass doors into the lobby. Models in gold–with Stefano Gabbana in their midst–filed through.
Some in the audience likewise wore precious metals.
Fashion pundits write in The Guardian that with this 2014 summer collection laden with gold coins, “Dolce and Gabbana seemed to be saying, ‘If you’ve got it flaunt it.’ [The whole collection] seemed like a metaphor for wealth.” This may be Milan’s last D&G show; convicted in June of tax evasion, rumor has it that the designers may vacate the city.
Several minutes later, the models had changed into street clothes and mingled on the street, some stopping and posing, others heading for the tram.
Then the street crowd began to hurry away; the Missoni show was about to begin elsewhere. Economic times are difficult but during fashion week the Milanese find it satisfying to watch, take pictures and dream.
Natalia Sarkissian holds an MFA in Writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She was an editor and contributor at Numéro Cinq from 2010-2017.