Milan Fashion Week | Five Days Leading Up to a Show: Day 2


words by JULIA VON BOEHM • edited by DIANDRA BARSALOU MITCHELL fashion week

A look into the 5 days leading up to a Milan Fashion Week Show with Ermanno Scervino. Day two we dive even deeper into the story that will be told on the runway.


Now we dive even deeper into the story that we have worked on for so long. We began at 9:30am, with the racks of garments waiting to be adjusted and finalized into looks for the show. We work with pieces that have been tentatively selected, as well as a rack that have been placed “on hold” in case an opportunity arises organically where can be worked back in to the collection. We absolutely broke the try-not-to-work-too-late-too-early rule, and stayed in the office way past our theoretical bedtimes. There is always the ideal idea of how things are going to go and it never really goes to schedule, which is expected in fashion.

We started with the show order, which is when we try to finish looks and order them as they will appear on the runway. We start with the beginning, middle and the end and then fill out the story with the looks in between. Sometimes we need a look that is neutral placed at a certain point to allow the story to breathe, and sometimes we begin to introduce the next chapter by using an accessory or a detail that teases what is to come. I know the story but I have to make sure I introduce the audience into the next expression, to be subtle but clear in leading them through what we have created. At this point it is also important to identify what still needs to be done or stopped in production; whether certain garments or details no longer serve an idea, or if they can change in a way that helps us enhance the vision. As a German who has lived in New York City for some time now, I can sometimes move at a different pace, and the lightness and humor with which Ermanno’s team approaches their work is welcomed with pleasure. I am forced to slow down any enjoy the process a bit more, and we find a pace that is still efficient but holds an aspect of the Italian gioia di vivere within it. At this point, even though we only have a few finished garments to work with, we have started to create a board of looks, next to the original mood board for run of show. This will help us identify what exactly needs to be made as we move forward.

Shoes, to me, are incredibly important, as they are a defining part of a look. For some reason, and this is true across fashion houses I am sure, it is very difficult to have the shoes arrive in advance, often not being tried on with a look until the day of the show. Creatively, what I am always searching for are the right contrasts to the main features of a look— whether it’s to the fabric, the shape and silhouette— and the shoe is such an essential part of striking that balance. It's a constant game between masculine and feminine, and this is partially why Ermanno and I work so well together. The essential vision we both share is a strong but beautiful woman, and the game of finding that juxtaposition is such an important part of that conversation (in which the shoes are the punctuation). We are emotional, and passionate, and both sometimes get intense but we always end these conversations with a joke or a moment of affection, returning to the lightness and the beauty of our ideas working stronger together to bring his vision to life.

Signing off from Florence at 12am… JVB xx