Fashion week muses, and the sources of photographers’ flashes and close-ups, go through CYCLES. A couple of years ago, it was the Russian czarinas in opulent embroideries and colour experiments. More recently, the FRENCH fashion editors took centre stage with a Parisienne nonchalance that cannot be emulated. The past two seasons, it’s the ITALIAN crew — dressed in everything from Gucci to Vetements, but giving everything personality — that spearheaded street style.
Whether it’s the return of Gucci as the it-fashion house at the helm of Alessandro Michele, or the fact that 2015 was characterised less by a given trend and more by placing personal style at the forefront, the girls at Milan have been killing it. Each has her own look: Gilda Ambrosio is the it-girl with a Cher mane and penchant for Vetements and Loewe; Patricia Manfield dresses feminine and is always at the arm of her equally stylish boyfriend Giotto. One question is on everyone’s lips: who exactly are they?
The Italian designer-turned-art consultant opts for clean lines and high-quality fabrics, with a style that is more understated than trend-driven. She calls it “simple sophistication,” where hues are muted and complement her olive skin, and pieces may be classic but are never predictable. A classic suit is elevated with leather ankle boots and an Altuzarra silk scarf; the simplest of ensembles — a silk blouse and a pair of Levi’s — is marked by its attention to detail, whether golden jewellery or snake-skin pumps. Thought her all-black ensemble is overly simple? Think again, because the devil is in the detail – combining silk pants with a sheepskin coat is a high-impact choice. Tordini’s 3 essentials a woman should know about style? “How to look elegant by wearing something simple, how to look sexy without being naked, and how to look feminine wearing masculine-inspired outfits.”
Gilda is an it-girl through and through. Born into an artistic Italian heritage of painters, sculptors and designers, she can’t help but tend towards the creative: she’s a designer and Grazia contributor. The appeal of her style is its eclecticism; colours are combined in unexpected ways, and avoiding monotony is of paramount importance. Today’s it-girls are characterised by their unwillingness to ascribe to a signature look, and it certainly holds for Ambrosio: one day she will wear a dramatic Loewe metallic printed dress over some crepe pants, and the next day she will opt for ripped oversized jeans and a rock band t-shirt. The only signature is her beauty: no makeup, long black hair à la Cher, and a pair of Céline sunglasses. A piece of advice, “Don’t fake it. Know what suits you and wear what you feel comfortable in. I would love to wear nearly-naked dresses but I would just end up looking like Goofy!”
Diletta is a stylist at Luisaviaroma, and as one of the youngest of the Milanese fashion pack, she breathes simplicity but surprises with intricacy. Not as eclectic as Ambrosio (but then again, who is) but not quite as classic as Tordini, she follows trends but makes them her own. The ‘rigid jeans’ hallmarked as a trend by Vogue? She wears them with a shearling Sandro jacket and some white ankle boots. An off-the-shoulder lace-up sweater provides an elongated figure when tucked into a pair of crepe pants and punctuated with a belt. As for the fur stole and midi skirt look, don’t tell me you wouldn’t steal it for a touch of Italian charm.
Patricia and her boyfriend Giotto Calendoli are by far the most stylish couple in Milan. The duo behind the blog The Atelier, where her style and his photography, as well as numerous collaborations, are showcased, they somehow complement each other perfectly. Rather than simply seeking it-girl status, Manfield’s ambition is underpinned by her fashion business studies — past projects include Kenzo and Vogue China; who knows what the future holds? Her outfit choices remain feminine at all times, but are never predictable. In fact, she embraces a high-low mix: a perfectly tailored suit with a pussy-bow blouse, may be contradicted with a chic mini dress and a suede trench coat the next day. A secret style tip? “‘Italians grow up with the mentality that you buy clothes to pass onto your grandchildren. My generation mixes it up more with high street, vintage and runway fashion. I love vintage shopping for one-off pieces.”
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