As a photographer, Fashion Week—and particularly Pitti Uomo—is an absolute playground. When you’re taking street photography, normally you’re working in two distinct modes: reactive, whereby you’re essentially keeping your eyes peeled for anything interesting that rears its head in weird and wonderful ways or; by filling the frame. You’ve already found the backdrop to what you want to create—either through the light that’s being cast down, through or off buildings—or simply a Wes Anderson-esque scene that just requires the right characters. Pitti Uomo and Fashion Week in general is the rocket fuel for the second of those scenarios. It slings together incredibly well-dressed characters from all over the globe that are only more than happy to fill the frame and your memory card. Who am I not to indulge them?
This is the first time I’m heading to Milan after a week of debauchery in Florence. Jumping on the train and finding my way to the hotel, the first port of call is the Gucci show. Due to train timings, I’ve missed the pre-show posing, but post-show exits provide another opportunity for the show-goers to strut their stuff. The street is absolutely teeming with photographers, clingers on and those hoping to get a glimpse of certain celebrities driving past in tinted windowed SUVs.
It’s a strange concoction of people, and even the photographers have their own distinctive styles. Invariably you find yourself taking shots of other people taking shots. The crowd is definitely more fashion-orientated than the classic menswear one would find in Florence during Pitti, but I end up bumping into one or two who have trickled through, and catch up on the day's play.
Once the initial photos are out the way, it’s time to head back to Central to refuel with coffee and plan the next few days of action.
I meet up with a few friends prior to the presentations and we grab some double espressos and a quick bite to eat, as you can never trust presentations to lay on anything other than booze. I place my larger camera—complete with zoom lens—on the table as I’m decanting my pockets and looking to review some of the day's work. One of my friend’s placed his coat on top and, later when he went to leave, quickly picked the coat up, camera in tow. A mighty crash which sounded eerily like a camera falling on concrete floor followed, as did hearts in mouthes. The camera, now essentially cracked into two pieces, made for a good crime scene—although this is not what I meant when I said filling the frame. Four hours into day one of Milan and I’m already at half capacity. Fantastic.
The light begins to fade (as in, the sun, not from my eyes) and thankfully, even though it’s now in pieces, I won’t be needing that camera for the evening’s events and presentations. Richard Biedul ends up joining us, and is someone who I haven’t seen since London Fashion Week the year prior, and obviously being impeccably dressed, I have to get a few snaps of him.
Richard Biedul at Milan Fashion Week
For some reason high-low shots always seem to work in Italy. There’s just something special in the tacky crossover with high fashion. Five minutes later with the shots in the bag, it’s off to a presentation by the Duomo, via my hotel of course. To drop off the stricken Fujifilm. RIP.
The evening proceeds with a copious amount of Negronis (deja vu much?) and chatting away with people from almost every country on Earth. Irrespective of their nationality, and almost overcome by their surroundings, no one can resist starting every conversation with ciao! There’s something immediately disarming about it, and it is quite possibly is the best ice-breaker in the world.
Camparino in Galleria, Milan
It wasn’t a great start to the weekend, but what’s life without a few hurdles here and there? If you’ve never been to Milan it is a must, and if you’re thinking of going to Fashion Week specifically, make sure to dress the part, as you might just see me behind a brand new lens.