Me and Michael Whittaker, snapped by Scott Schuman - on my camera
There's no better place to be on day two of the Milan menswear shows than backstage at Frankie Morello. It was my first show of the week last season and my first real foray into the revelry that goes on behind the scenes. Walking in that day in June was an eye opener. Kelly Osborne stood in a corner laughing while her male model boyfriend Luke Worrall tapped at another model with a baseball bat. All around were boys jumping on each other and playing up for the cameramen and photographers, most of whom lapped it up as fast as they could get it. There are two types of backstage photographers you see, the ones who do it for the art, and love nothing more than a portrait shot of a model's brooding face; and the ones who do it for the atmosphere, and thrive on the boys behaving badly.
Michael Whittaker and Cole Mohr backstage at Frankie Morello
Not all shows are as relaxed as Frankie Morello, but there's something about the label's tongue in cheek references and easy street wear aesthetic that has the boys fooling from the word go. This time round New Zealand's Michael Whittaker was modelling in the show (his scarf had a lovely but subtle male genitalia motif), and I arrived with about 20 minutes to spare before it all began. A pair of white boy doppelgangers from the Bronx and Virginia stood rapping while their Italian dressers frantically tried to get them into first looks. A couple of metres away, another three models posed for photographers, alternately blowing kisses at the cameras and kissing each other on the cheek. A young shirtless Italian model took to the ground to do a quick set of press ups to ensure maximum rippedness on the catwalk. And Michael Whittaker, well, he took turns rapping and trying to evade his hairdresser who kept removing the fake Eiffel Tower earrings he'd clipped onto each ear - the hairdresser eventually won.
Michael Whittaker and Thomas Hoefnagels
Michael accompanied me to the next couple of shows. Outside Gianfranco Ferre we stood and people-watched as hundreds of show hopefuls made a futile attempt to get in the already too-full venue. While we were waiting, a 20-something year old Japanese guy arrived in beige overcoat, black jeans, and five inch heels. The street style photographers went nuts. Scott Schuman stood nearby shooting the scene, right when Michael and I were saying we really should get a picture together. Scott heard the call and obliged us, snapping a few photos on my little point and shoot while we posed against the wall.
Roberto Cavalli holding court, sans cigar
Roberto Cavalli was next on the schedule, a highlight for me because of the press appearance the Italian designer makes before each show. Last year I stood mesmerised as he smoked an enormous cigar and flirted with reporters. This season the cigar was gone, but the flirting remained. The show opened with a model wearing a green, yellow and black boldly-striped cricket blazer, with skinny tartan pants tucked into boots. Eton meets punk. Quite the juxtaposition. It continued with a mixture of fabrics - leather pants, chain mail vests, velvet blazers and ruffled shirts; and cloths - stripes, tartans and checks.
Punk meets English schoolboy at Roberto Cavalli - photo: The Fashionisto
A quick bite for lunch at a restaurant that advertised a margherita pizza special but neglected to mention the 10 Euro per-person cover charge, then Michael pointed me in the direction of the next show - Neil Barrett - according to him a mere 10 minute walk away. An hour later, I arrived outside to find at least 50 ticketed people being refused entry due to a fire hazard. There was no getting in. Tired, cold and with sore feet, I took that opportunity to head home for the day. Prada was live-streaming online and I could do with the rest.
More from me tomorrow.
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