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Backstage at Marco de Vincenzo SS18Photography Virginia Arcaro – captured on Huawei P10

Get a look backstage at Marco de Vincenzo’s SS18 show

Jetting off to MFW, Raven Smith muses over over his relationship with Milan and its chic women

It’s said that in London you’re never more than six feet from a rat. In Milan you’re never more than six feet from a dress. After the familiarity of London I always feel like I’m on a second date with Milan. We’re still sussing each other out. Do I like you? Do you like me? Are we gonna do this?

For a city that runs on caffeine – the lifeblood of fashion journos on a deadline – things appear to move rather slowly throughout Milan. Lunch is late, dinner too. Shows tend to lag 30 minutes behind schedule. Despite this relaxed timekeeping, Milan always delivers on grandeur. A smattering of pomp and poise, a liberal sprinkle of tah-da!. Where London continually subverts the tradition of pretty girls in pretty dresses, Milan is all about this trope, constantly revisiting how glamour translates for the modern Milanese woman.

“Think big, then think bigger. Big on hair. Big on pattern. Big on boots. Milanese women aren’t afraid of giant sunglasses and reflective fabrics” 

There’s something about the Milanese women at MFW too. There’s a touch of the dramatic, to say the least, and always an undercurrent of opulence. Nobody shies away from out-there accessories: think big, then think bigger. Big on hair. Big on pattern. Big on boots. Milanese women aren’t afraid of giant sunglasses and reflective fabrics. Lurex is a stalwart. These women have a supernatural flair for the outré but never tip into the vulgar. A smile, a wink, another espresso. These women do not bite their nails. They do not queue. They do not spill red wine on their white garments. These women have chic aperitivos and private dinners that effortlessly roll into the small hours. Milanese women don’t do fashion, they are fashion.

And so to Marco de Vincenzo’s SS18 show at Castello Sforzesco, a castle whose defences were designed by Da Vinci and whose moat was once drained by Napoleon. Don’t let the historically rich location fool you, the space was grand but Vincenzo drew on the smaller details of his personal Sicilian roots as inspiration for the show – more sandcastle than Milanese fortress. Vincenzo’s woman of SS18 was based on his own experiences returning to Sicily and rediscovering items from his coastal wardrobe – things he’d bought on holiday and reintegrated into his current wardrobe. This eclectic beachcombing approach themed the show, which was as much about souvenir t shirts (emblazoned with ye olde name for Sicily: Ultrapharum and Triskelion), as evening jackets (thrown over mesh vests). The Little Mermaid would’ve felt very at home in some of the evening wear, it’s colouring was achingly beach party (pepto bismol pink, and french mustard yellow), but the cut screamed business-lunch-I’m-deliberately-late-for-on-purpose-because-I-want-to-make-an-entrance. Oh and there were shell earrings. Count me in.

Watch the backstage video below: