Dinner with Giorgio, a new friend and Fashion Week
I may be biased but Italians seem to love everything more passionately than any other nation. Fashion and food obviously being their big ones. Being invited to see Milan Fashion Week in action was an invite I just couldn’t resist. PR supremo Warly Tomei, a Brazilian with a heart of gold, enticed me with Roberto Cavalli and Dolce & Gabbana’s shows, both of which I knew would be off-the-chart wonderful.
Arriving at the Baglioni Hotel and having left Vivi with her beloved grandparents in the countryside, Giorgio and I dared to be different and slipped into a heavenly courtyard bistro called Bacaro del Sambuco on Via Montenapoleone. Discreet and intimate I felt it was perfect for a clandestine rendezvous! Everything on the menu was light but more importantly, delicious. I left Giorgio to head to the Cavalli HQ for a fitting. I was beyond thrilled and relieved, I admit, that I could get into the dresses (well, a teeny bit snug!) pulled for me by their stylist Gregoire. I also found a new friend, the stunning society blonde with Cara D eyebrows, Ginevra Rossini, 22 years old and with the manners of a true young lady.
With Gregoire for Cavalli fitting
Back to the hotel to have a quick soak and then off to the Hotel Principe de Savoia for an early supper with Giancarlo Giammetti and Valentino and their crew. Giancarlo is still on his world domination tour for his book “Private”, and the Editor of Italian Vogue, Franca Sozzani, was hosting him a cocktail party that night for all the great and gorgeous of MFW.
Valentino’s dinner was hilariously short and light with the beautiful Charlene Shorto, Afef Jnifen, Naty Abascal, Georgina Brandolini, and a little late, Bianca Brandolini (in runway Dolce & Gabbana spots). All the rest of us in Valentino, of course.
Naty Abascal, me, Giorgio & Valentino
We headed to the party heavily cordoned off with the largest security where Franca greeted Giancarlo like a star. Anna Wintour arrived and I was a tiny bit in awe. However my divine friend Gianluca Longo (fabulous stylist) encouraged me to take a photo. She was, contrary to the old wives’ tales, friendly and gracious, and my photo of her with Giancarlo was one of my favourites. In one booth the new dandy (after Vogue’s Hamish Bowles crown) Derek Blasberg, was courting the beautiful Joan Smalls, Tabitha Simmons and Georgia May Jagger. The most down to earth girl, make-up queen Pat McGrath, arrived in her usual head to toe black, and I have to confess to stealing her to sit with me and Marpessa Hennik (ex supermodel and Dolce & Gabbana muse). There were so many important fashion players that I got a bit lost in a sea of Prosecco on ice. My favourite had to be Anna del Russo, who was wearing a frivolous Hiawathaesque feather headband. Only a true fashionista would dare!
Giancarlo Giammetti with Anna Wintour at the launch party for his book ‘Private’
Giancarlo with Anna del Russo
The Cavalli day arrived and they were so worried about us Cavalli “Angels” looking less than perfect that we were collected and dropped at the legendary Aldo Coppola for hair and make-up. Of course, it ran late and Ginevra and I had to race back to the Principe to get ready at break-neck speed.
Arriving at the Arco della Pace was madness the like I have never seen; people everywhere posing in outrageous outfits, bloggers in creations that beggared belief and fashion students swarming the guests holding on to precious tickets! Once inside I caught my breath – a circle of fire literally around a pool of water. The enormous circus style tent was full to bursting but I was more excited to see the 90’s supermodel Nadège, looking fresh and head to toe in Cavalli leather. Cavalli had a heavily Brit front row including Cheryl Cole, Ellie Goulding and the actress Samantha Barks. The show itself was breath-taking with reed-thin models with endless legs stomping past us in wafts of leather and body skimming beaded fringed frocks. I fell in love with more than one red satin evening dress.
Me in Milan, wearing Cavalli
That evening we were delivered in another evening dress to their new flagship boutique on Via Montenapoleone. Five floors of Cavalli creations, children’s wear, sportswear – you name it, there is a floor for it!
My friend Magda Pozzo and I decided to head to the dinner early and got caught by Roberto at the door. His marvellous bejewelled walking stick was obviously a talking point. The dinner was at one of Milan’s most desirable hotspots, Il Salumaio. A very beautiful old Milanese stone walled dining room with luscious full roses in simple vases. Russian model Irina Shayk one of the Cavalli’s favourites was there and both sons, Daniele and Robert, hosted tables. His wife Eva was an excellent hostess in her de rigeur black evening trouser suit. A beautiful Italian feast followed and even better I was home by midnight.
Magda Pozzo, myself, & Roberto Cavalli
The following morning I had to pack which was no mean feat as I had gone a little bonkers in the shoe department. Gianvito Rossi being a firm new favourite … oh and some gold lame Dolce & Gabbana slingbacks – irresistible.
Warly collected me and my luggage as we hit first a Franca Sozzani Brunch for a new designer called Erika Cavallini in the most spectacular building called the Circolo della Stampa. Magical and truly only in Italy. Mini smoked salmon bagels were consumed in vast quantities.
Next we did a drive by the Hogan fashion show – there they had the genius idea of having all the models standing as if window mannequins and then doing semi walks, finishing with a mini fashion shoot. All very intriguing.
Lastly, we finally got into Warly’s car to go to the Dolce & Gabbana show which I was thoroughly over excited about. Their clothes have become something of a staple in my wardrobe and their heavy Sicilian influence is sexy and feminine.
If I thought it was bonkers elsewhere, this was a zoo. Everywhere you looked there were fabulously dressed girls and boys in creations each crazier than the next. I was, of course, stupidly impressed. The show waited for the actress Monica Belluci to arrive, as she is one of the design duo’s muses and then the music began. Words failed me as “Once upon a Time in Sicily” started. The set was a fantasy forest. The girls were all medieval fairytale characters with Little Red Riding featuring heavily. My jaw seriously hit the floor!
Dolce & Gabbana Show
Model after model came out with the loud classical ballet themed music creating the scene. Reds and purples and deep greens all bejewelled to death. The finale was literally an army of silver and black girls storming the runway… staggering. Show over we flew backstage, kissed Stefano Gabbana and found Marpessa and David Gandy. Eva Herzigova (in this season’s campaign) was there with Bianca Balti – too much beauty in one room. I was in heaven but had a train to catch. In a flurry of heels and Dolce lace I just made it to the train in time for my journey back to the real world.