Did you ever dream about getting your very own YSL evening dress… for free? How about a dozen of them? In Madrid’s retrospective Yves Saint Laurent exhibition your wish can come true… sort of.
Okay, you can’t keep the clothes, but you can keep the faith: yes, „we are living in a material world”, but the guys at the Fondation Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent were kind enough to let us all enter the magical world of the Master, who’s pieces of perfection enchanted the fashion lovers for over four decades. Even the famous fans, actress Mena Suvari and pop princess Kylie Minogue would be amazed by seeing such a high concentration of “chic” in such a small p(a)lace.
The Salas Recoletos museum of Foundation Mapfre gives home for the breathtaking exhibition of the immortal fashion dictator, where all the dolls are dressed for success, and all the guys are, well, of course, gay. Just a few corners away from Madrid’s (in)famous gay village, Chueca, 150 original creations of beauty, luxury and art, over 80 hand drawn sketches, classic photos, and vintage fashion videos are showing us the deep impact of Monsieur Saint Laurent on the Universe of couture, organised in eleven thematically set up sections, from Haute Couture to Prêt-a-Porter.
The exhibit, previously presented only in Paris’s Petit Palace, and welcomes all empty wallets and glitter-filled imagination.
The holidays are over, but the real feast is just about to get started. Gigantic “sale” signs all over the fashion metropolises of the world, and the hungry fashion victims are willing to give up all their manners just to put their hands on anything which has a “%” label on it. But not true London bois and gals, who know well: the end of the season brings fresh new blood in the circulation of the charity shops.
Have a look, darling!
Travelling to London there is nothing more stressful than walking in to a fully packed, crowded shopping temple, and try to see trough the mess the sales-hunters built up in the name of the new year resolution: changing their wardrobes, entirely. Well, okay… the chance of meeting Katie Price in real life is actually more stressful, but let’s not be pessimists. Back to style: who wants to wear the discounted stuff, anyways, knowing that it just a matter of time, when will it appear on a stranger on the street in front of us, or – even worse – on one of the party people, rocking your fav club, wearing the exact same outfit as yours. However, no one can leave the Brit’s capital at this time of the year (and any other time, of course) without stuffing a huge bag full of clothing and accessories… it’s London, baby! In the city, where Johnny Rotten, Twiggy, Debbie Harry and Harry Potter are the local heroes, you don’t need to go “bling-bling” to get attention: forget the high streets and get yourself into the much less posh, but much more interesting style-states: charity shops. In the UK the charity shop phenomenon is larger than life and cheaper than dirt: you can dress up from top to bottom, for 22 Sterlings. Walking around East London, from Hackney Central up to Clapton Pond there are five treasure caves, each and every one of them is supporting a different organisation. Civil rights, animal care, homeless issues, and religious foundations are the inspirations for the dedicated volunteers to collect money in these small shops, presenting a wide range of goods: not to be missed vintage stuff from local old peeps, and brand new goodies from youngsters who just didn’t like their Christmas presents as much as they love to do good. True fashionistas must check out the bookshelves as well: fashion photography and illustration albums are often sold for ridiculous prices.
Check out the listing here, and you’ll understand why Oxford and Regent streets are full of tourists, while the real cool Londoners are hopping on bus 38, heading to Hackney with an organic textile bag and a huge smile on their face… almost covered by a “to-die-for” vintage sunglasses. And where did they get them? The answer is always charity shops, my love!
Countless people are convinced that Italy rises above all the other fashion superpowers due to the Italian way of thinking. The implication is that in Italy both women and men take fashion seriously. It’s a commonplace, but fashion can kill – especially when you think of stiletto heels.
Milan Fashion Week… via FTV
In connection with footwear, the Italian woman is perfect from the top of her head to the tip of her shoes. Hence, if you aim to travel to Milan think hard about what you pack in your suitcase, since pretty accessories in this city are not enough, even for mere survival. A unique attitude is inseparable from quality clothing in Italy. Rumour in rather high circles has it that Allegra Versace, the omnipotent heiress of the fashion empire, learnt the alphabet of fashion before the regular ABC … “Armani, Barocco, Byblos, Cavalli, Dolce, Exté, Fendi, Gucci, Missoni, Prada, Trussardi, Valentino, Versace”. Easy and rhythmic, or perhaps ‘easy peasy’, like the sound of shoe heels hitting the streets of Milan.
Shopping in luxury
The mission – what else could we call a shopping trip to Milan? – should start in the Quadrilatero, the city’s famous fashion quarter. Luxury is the motto. Glittering diamonds, jewellery which has been dreamt up and sculpted in gold by the most prominent masters, fine fabrics and pretty accessories, including footwear, which can justifiably be called works of art. Via Montenapoleone is the most famous street in the Quadrilatero. The boutiques and stores of Gucci, Versace, Ferragamo, Prada and Valentino can all be found here. The street is crossed by Via Sant’Andrea, where the might of Italian fashion can be compared with French legends, since here a Chanel boutique allures fashionistas. If you are content with window-shopping, Via della Spiga should not be missed. After all, the windows of D&G, Krizia, Bvlgari and Chopard offer nothing short of a museum visit. Via Manzoni houses a real designer’s universe, the Spazio Armani. Besides the salon we can also visit the Armani Casa, selling furniture and objects for the home, and if you want to relax with a taste of creamy cappuccino there is nothing better than the Emporio Armani Café.
Weekdays alla Italiano
If you can do with less luxury, make your way to the Corso Vittorio Emanuele, the street of sophisticated style – this is where the Max Mara and Pollini boutiques are, but on the way to Dome Square stores serving a wider public can also be found. The Corso Buenos Aires lays claim to being Europe’s longest street, full of irresistible stores from beginning to end. Lovers of everyday elegance can pick and choose at leisure from the selections of Benetton, Sisley or S.Olive. Via Torino and Corso di Porta Ticinese emphasise the trend for young fashionistas, so it’s no surprise to find these streets filled with students and teenagers. The nearby Navigli is the citadel of vintage fanatics, Piazza XXIV Maggio, its centre, offering alternatives for those who want to stand out in the crowd – crazy accessories, second-hand clothes shops and eccentric home design stores. Everything is here which is needed for emphasis – Italian fashion may be classic, but we can indulge in anything.
Antique and modern
The mission simply cannot be complete without a visit to Milan’s noted markets. The Fiera di Senigallia has grown into a real institution. Every Saturday morning the Viale d’Annunzio fills with life, colours and scents, and the whole neighbourhood echoes with the characteristic cries of flea markets. This one is a real cultural melting pot, since merchandise from India, South America and Africa can be found here, alongside new and used clothing, books, comics and rare records sold by local traders. While marvelling at the variety of goods you are followed by Senegalese musicians creating a perfect harmony. The Mercatone del Naviglio Grande is held on the last Sunday of each month in the area of the Alzaia Naviglio Grande. The market features antiquities and bric-a-brac of four hundred antique dealers, and you can also purchase magnificent pieces of jewellery –which you are not likely to encounter adorning anyone else!
In the wake of disappearing colours
So what’s the latest fashion? “Everything is about detail,” asserted Roberto Cavalli at his latest show. “Today all fashion has to do is transfer traditional clothing into the everyday and cleverly fuse the genuine with the fake – be it jewellery, leather or textile. Dare to experiment and forget grey.” The new collections of some fashion houses have shown almost shockingly bold reds and blues, and the conquest of huge, colourful shopping bags on the catwalk seems to continue. The message of the new season is – today’s individual is searching for the garment that is her perfect fit in every sense. The solution, according to the greatest gurus, is returning from the 1960s: perfectly tailored suits with slender lines, dresses of velvet and taffeta, convincing the enthralled audience that there is not a single item they would not like to wear – immediately. That’s the feeling which can only be described as the Milanese miracle.
This entry was published originally in the Hungarian fashion and trend magazine, Fashion Street.