Milan Men’s Fashion Week is not only about the clothes; it’s also about the parties. Everyone in the fashion world knows that the parties thrown by Dolce&Gabbana are infamous, but Milan wasn’t prepared for the night that the iconic designers had in store for the revellers. It’s been a long time since a party like this had been thrown in Milano… Swide’s Ben Taylor was there. Here’s how it played out.
First of all, never in my life did I think that a party thrown by Dolce&Gabbana would begin over a game of football, but that’s exactly how things got going. Before all that though, an exclusive event was being held, paying homage to Domenico Dolce’s photographic book, Campioni. The famous faces in attendance were the protagonists of Dolce’s Campioni, Jung Woo-Sung, Godfrey Gao, Roberto Bolle, Francesco Scianna, Marpessa, Elio Fiorucci, Enrique Palacios and Adam Senn, Dolce&Gabbana’s man of the moment. After he’d done the customary photocall, I pulled him to one side to find out how things had been going since the world had seen The One Sport campaign, in which the poor lad is seen, running around an arena, lost. ‘Things are going well’, he said… thanks, Adam, I was expecting more than that but, you know. I’m kidding; we spoke about his acting career and production that he does as well as modelling. He’s actually just finished a short film called ‘Loosing Sam’, which he starred in and co-produced. See, not just a pretty face. It was around then that Mariano Vivanco, the renowned photographer who shot the FW13 Men’s campaign, came and joined us, complaining that the appetisers on offer were far too tempting and that he was having issues with deciding who he should be supporting during the football game. It took some convincing but I managed to get him on my side and cheer on England.
After arriving at Metropol, where Dolce&Gabbana’s fashion shows and exclusive events take place, I exchanged pleasantries with colleagues and familiar faces, as I made my way to the bar, which was found underneath magnificent floral chandeliers, bathing the guests in soft purple and pink light. On offer, there was Belvedere vodka, a range of fresh juices, sodas and, of course, bottle upon bottle of Moet and Chandon (what else would you expect, really?). I turned to Adam to see what his choice of drink was going to be, juice. The guys been off the sauce for three years, now, and not even a DG party would get the man enjoying something a little stronger. I, on the other hand, ordered a vodka lemon and so did Lilly, my dance partner for the evening. It was then that I took in the sight laid out before me; Metropol had been transformed into a mini sports cinema, with the game being shown on a huge screen at the end of the space that was lined with the seating used for the fashion shows. Perfect. The place started to fill up and so I took my seat amongst the crowds, watching the action unfold.
Yes, even though I may be living in Italy, I was not hiding the fact that I was supporting my home country, much to the dismay of those sat around me. Every time Joe Hart successfully kept the ball out the net or England’s stallions vied to score a goal, my cheering was so unappreciated that I started to feel that maybe I was getting myself into trouble; even Vivanco had decided that he would root for Italy. Thanks. As I moved to join the small group of English supporters, I could see models Samuele Visentin and Elbio Bonsaglio on the edge of their seats. Even fashion icon Anna Dello Russo was engrossed in the game, clearly having forgotten to wear one of her wonderfully eccentric hats (I was rather hoping to see a creation, made especially for the game).
The penalties saw the fashion crowd turn into something that resembled an English pantomime audience, ooh-ing and ahh-ing, with most of the English guys having to turn their heads away from the big screen. When Steven Garrard scored the first penalty and I showed my appreciation, I received heart-warming threats from Elbio Bonsaglio. And then it happened, England faltered and our fate was sealed and I was about to be sat in a room full of cheering Italians, laughing at my ‘loss’, with no escape. I exchanged looks with the other Brits, took a deep breath and prepared myself for the rapturous applause from the Italians. It happened, but I didn’t find myself sitting like a sore loser (although I was staying true to the lads) as it was impossible not to join in with the screams and celebrations that had exploded at Metropol; and with that, the party truly started.
The trill of music rang out and the Italian national anthem played out as the big screen slid out of view, revealing three elegant pin up-style show girls, on a raised stage behind the DJ, and a full show band, donning suits, that wouldn’t have looked out of place during 50s America or the vintage dance halls of the world. Faux palm trees and a long silver curtain provided the backdrop, reflecting the purple and pink lights and the flashbulbs of photographers. Everyone rushed to get a better view and then the opening notes of ‘Mambo Italiano’ were played… I’ve never seen anything quite like it. Glitter was fired in to the air from all angles, guests grabbed whoever was closest to them, hips started swinging and people span their partners in circles on the tiered seating that had now turned into a dance floor. Stefano Gabbana had taken position at the side of the stage with photographer Giampaolo Sgura and Milan’s multi-talented club scene guru Natasha Slater. It was no holds barred event; Domenico Dolce was at the front of the stage, cheering on the glittering girls (who knew that he could move like that?), fashion blogger Pelayo Diaz was shimmy shaking with Swide’s boys, Enrico Costantini and Andrea Ravieli and drinks were flowing freely. I was happily dancing (sweating profusely) to the live music with Simona Melani, who is our Sicilian Girl, when it came to a stop and Stefano Gabbana stepped onto the stage and into the DJ booth with Graziano della Nebbia (DJ extraordinaire and producer), taking the party to another level by playing Madonna’s ‘Girl Gone Wild’ and whipping the guests into a storm of massive shapes. Even Dolce couldn’t resist throwing his hands in the air. Then he mixed that with Kylie Minogue’s ‘All The Lovers’ and I watched in amazement as hands were thrown up into the air and people were jumping in ecstasy, even Mariano Vivanco was getting down to the grooves of Miss. Minogue, shouting out the lyrics at the top of his voice. I saw Swide’s columnist Tea Hacic-Vlahovic donning a red wig and making some amazing shapes, next to the stage and there was our other contributor Camille Adomakoh, who does Luxury London, who I don’t think I saw stop laughing; every time I turned around, there she was laughing her head off… I’ll just blame it on my dance moves (her drinks).
We all thought that things couldn’t get any crazier and then Vogue Japan’s Anna Dello Russo took to the stage with Giovanna Battaglia, the editor of L’Uomo Vogue, and her sister Sara Battaglia. Apparently, lip-syncing isn’t their forte; they kind of whipped their hair back and forth, danced like there was no tomorrow and rocked it out with the guitars (much to the horror of the actual banned, who I could see stood at the side of the stage, close to tears). Anna Dello Russo even tried her hand at the piano, randomly mashing the keys and sending us all crazy with laughter. It goes without saying that the crowd loved it up, with video director Luca Finotti lapping it up and taking photo after photo on his iPhone. Our music man, Andrea Ratti of Mood Swings, was trying hard to keep a straight face but he finally cracked and soon had his iPhone out, too. In fact, if you are friends with someone who lives in Milano, I am sure you have seen their Facebook wall plastered with memories of last night… which is lucky, seeing as I am sure many of those that attended are having a hard time recollecting the events of last night.
We all cheered as Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana took to the stage with the stars of the Campioni book, who joined the three girls onstage for a spot of singing and spinning.
And, with that, we danced the night away, embracing the dolce vita and one hell of a party! I’m not promoting excessive drinking, but on my desk are three bottles of water, some aspirin and a phone full of amazing memories. Well done, Dolce&Gabbana, you truly hosted the party of the year.
Written by Ben Taylor