In Milan at fashion week, the sport of content creation has never felt more competitive. One front-row guest came accompanied with a videographer who sat perpendicular behind her filming her reactions to the show — not the models wearing the expensive clothes we were there to see. The focus was on her face and its expressions. An impressive entry for the making-it-about-me-culture.
Another highlight was the 52 minutes I lost waiting for Kylie Jenner to take her seat, while a sad Billie Eilish song played on a loop. But being seen, everywhere, by everyone, all at once, has never been more lucrative.
Star turns were in rubber-necking abundance. Versace made sure to not miss out on the Nineties supermodel moment by enlisting Claudia Schiffer to close the show, watched by Demi Moore, and her pet chihuahua, Pilaf. Naomi Campbell snaked to the finish at Dolce & Gabbana. Ryan Gosling and Julia Roberts perched on the front row at Gucci, Julianne Moore at Bottega.
There were also some very good clothes. Prada was an early highlight of the week. Flighty organza shift dresses in hazy soft pink and icy blue came with sections of fabric beautifully trailing behind. Shirts and knits were punctuated with silver rivets, grungy utility jackets were paired with a bright red fringed skirt worn over wool shorts. A funny, tiny man’s head was a clasp on a bag — found in the archives from 1913. It was a captivating expression of the weirdness and beauty of the house.
At Gucci, new incumbent director Sabato De Sarno reframed the brand. Stripped of the gaudy maximalism of his predecessor, Alessandro Michele, De Sarno offered clothes to covet, and sell. Navy knits came encrusted with gob-stopper gems; Grey hooded sweatshirts were worn with patent red pencil skirts, thigh-skirting black mini dresses with white trainers, cementing the modern mixed-up way of dressing, where anything goes. The collection lacked splashy fireworks but there was a cool confidence of an eye which is being primed to hit the billions of revenue now required.
Londoner Maximilian Davis, 28, continued his ascent at Ferragamo. With billowing trench coats, languid silk high-necked draped dresses and rich green leather shoulder bags, he seems to have an instinctive feel for what real (grown up) women want to wear.
For those still thinking about the Roman empire? Tods (crochet knits, pleated skirts and natty waist belts with driving gloves clipped on) combined its showspace with the sets-in-progress for La Scala opera house. Models skirted horse head busts and cherub casts. The real Odyssey (yes, that’s Greek) came from Matthieu Blazy’s Bottega Veneta, the hottest ticket in town.
In under two years he has made it a hotbed of innovation, putting his peers in the shade. He’s also the reason the high street is full of white vests and why everyone’s wearing loose blue jeans again (his are leather). The invitation was a leather compass-watch; models strode out onto a set painted with jolly seaside motifs. Giant woven totes held last season’s castoffs, green leather shoes felt as if seaweed had stylishly coiled around the foot, a crab-red leather dress elegantly sculpted the body while crochet-weave dresses with extraordinary barnacle raffia balls offered a captivating finale.
In an industry awash with noise, gossip and gladiatorial contests of conglomerate might, Blazy is the current god of the Coliseum. Next stop? Paris, where all shall spar again.
Victoria Moss’s Wish List
La Scala T-shirt, £390, ladoublej.com
Weekend by Max Mara x 24 by Kate Phelan
Jeans, Weekend by Max Mara x 24 by Kate Phelan, £180, harrods.com
Gilda maxi trench coat, £189, aligne.co
Sunglasses, Versace, £263, sunglasshut.com
25 Goldie red lipstick, £37, gucci.com
Vara bow slingbacks, £635, ferragamo.com