Milan Fashion Week | Five Days Leading Up to a Show: Day 5

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. Show day is upon us and the final run through, finishing touches, hair and makeup come together for the runway presentation.


Last night we finished at around 4am, slept a few hours and then met at the showroom again in the morning to prepare everything to be moved to the runway location. Once I arrive there, we go through run of show yet again with the models. In some cases we are still switching outfit details as we go, to make sure that they will be able to change into their second look in time to make it back onto the runway without a break in the show’s pace. The walkthrough is always the most important part before the show, and the models are finally able to walk in the actual shoes for their look (yay!). The goal really is to have the shoes fit as well as possible to avoid any on-stage dramas, and have everyone feeling their best on the catwalk. At this point we still have about 45 minutes before the show begins so the girls go back to hair and makeup, and now our mission is to adjust the shoes as best as possible to make sure no one is wobbly or feeling uncomfortable.

Federica Cerchiai & Ermanno Scervino

Federica Cerchiai & Ermanno Scervino

Ermanno had the idea early on for the 40's wave hairstyle, which gave a luxurious female dandy vibe that our hairstylist Syd Hayes absolutely perfected. I will say we all worked as a team and he and Erin Parsons, our makeup artist, are fluent in the creative language Ermanno and I speak. In ideating with Erin, we decided we wanted to make every girl an individual, and shape our vision to each unique face. We had three looks that were minimal but accented with something that sparkled with subtle elegance: 1. Moisturized luminous skin, clean and mostly free of makeup framed with a groomed and feathered brow 2. Same as above but accented with two tiny Swarovski crystals at the inner corner of the eye 3. Glitter dusted brows that twinkled while paired with that same clean and moisturized skin.

At about 20 minutes before start time, we begin dressing the girls in their first outfits and the hair and makeup team work their finishing magic while I make sure everything is tied, twisted, pinned, and folded the right way. As the first looks steps out, I am backstage by the monitor; I never actually take in and watch the show I am working on. I am the very last checkpoint before the girls go out, making sure everything is fastened in place, shoes are well tied, and the correct handbags and accessories are in the right hands. As each girl steps out onto the runway, I am already laser focused on the next look, honed in on the most minute styling details.

Ermanno Scervino Spring 2020 Makeup + Hair
Ermanno Scervino Spring 2020 HMUA team .jpg
We had three looks that were minimal but accented with something that sparkled with subtle elegance
— Erin Parsons

My intention in my work is to inspire a dialogue and spark conversation through thought provoking fashion, and I am always so happy when someone taps into this and engages with what we have created. At Ermanno Scervino, the vision for this collection was individuality and freedom of expression without having to be one way or another, and finding both balance and contradiction in a conversation between masculine and feminine by reimagining Italian craftsmanship and traditional men’s suiting. At the end of the show we all give an emotional thank you and goodbye to whoever is within hugging distance, and then it's like being in a nightclub when the lights come on— I try to sneak out well before the stage is being packed up. While Ermanno is doing his post show press, I quietly disappear and usually meet up with Angelo Sensini, my best friend of 24 years. Angelo is a PR master and has always been a loyal and supportive force in my life, so we sprinted to his Bally presentation and sat together in the corner of the Bally garden, and of course it felt like no time had passed at all as it always does with a dear friend. After doing a show, transitioning from the creative world back into reality can feel like like interdimensional travel or coming up out of a deep dream. It’s always a shock to the brain after a creative high, and sometimes all I can handle is one good friend and then I generally just need to hide away in my hotel room and SLEEP. But before that, here are my favorite looks from the collection:

Tomorrow I have a meeting with Ermanno to begin planning our upcoming campaign, and then I will whisk myself away to the airport back to New York where my girls are waiting for me. We have two days together to catch up and for me to become accustomed to reality again, and then it’s time for Paris Fashion Week.

Signing off to reset and recharge… JVB xx