WWD.com/menswear-news/fashion/m-alex-badias-show-diaries-2014-7526684
fashion
fashion

M: Alex Badia's Show Diaries 2014

Hello, Kanye! My cappuccino-driven tour of the new collections, feat. John Varvatos, Ermenegildo Zegna, Versace, Gucci, Armani, and Thom Browne.

Alex Badia

Alex Badia

Photo By Barry Blitt

Gene Simmons

Gene Simmons

Photo By Barry Blitt

Future diamond necklace

Future's diamond necklace

Photo By Barry Blitt

Corneliani

Dirty shoes at Corneliani.

Photo By Barry Blitt

Appeared In
Special Issue
Menswear issue M Spring 2014

Day One—Milan


Gray morning. Vespas and Fiats whiz down Corso Vittorio Emanuele II. Along with photographers, models, dressers, stylists, fashion groupies, Italian-television personalities, and businesspeople, I step into the 9:30 a.m. Corneliani show…


And so begins Milan fashion week 2014…


The Corneliani people like to trick things out when it comes to the set. Today is no different: A massive amount of dirt covers the floor! Perhaps it is meant to signal the collection’s earthy look, but a few of us end up with dirty shoes. The things we do for fashion. The collection that passes before our eyes is young and solid…


At the Ermenegildo Zegna show, we witness the sophomore collection from master of elegance Stefano Pilati. He hits us with a collection heavy on softly constructed three-piece suits beneath quilted bomber jackets, oversize coats (a Pilati specialty), and fluffy cashmere sweaters…


I am in major need of cappuccino (I am totally addicted, btw), and so the M team stops at a café, where we run into notable Milan fashionista Anna Dello Russo and her lovely assistant, Carlotta Oddi. Both are wearing matching Carven (current season) bubblegum-pink statement coats and chunky Prada shoes. (Should I be coordinating my outfits with my assistant?)…


My glance is fixed on plump pastries behind the glass. Luckily, I am able to stop myself from indulging in a major carb load. Emotional eating is never the answer…


Seated next to me at the Costume National show is an Italian-television journalist who has brought along his Jack Russell terrier, named Fedra. Believe it or not, the man and his dog are wearing perfectly matching outfits. (What is going on?) Every time a model struts by, a British editor seated behind me barks softly. Thank God for British humor…


The MSGM collection has “truth” as its theme. Backstage, I ask designer Massimo Giorgetti if he has ever been lied to. “Yes, of course!” he answers. Good to know I am not the only one with that bit of baggage…
Next up is, John Varvatos, feat. an appearance by Kiss, in full leather regalia, alongside John himself. They take their bows as the crowd goes mad; iPhones emerge from pockets in a crazed Instagram race. If you think Miley Cyrus knows how to work a tongue, you haven’t seen Gene Simmons!


Neil Barrett unveils a strong collection, using neoprene as a core material and reinventing menswear staples such as the sweatshirt and toggle coat…


At the Versace show, models who look very Village People walk the stage. Things get even better with the appearance of chaps and rhinestone codpieces…


A who’s who of fashion crowds the GQ party, but the place has terrible feng shui: At times, you are trapped with someone who won’t shut up. The football player Victor Cruz looks great in Calvin Klein. The rapper Future is talking, but I can’t hear what he’s saying, because I can’t take my eyes off his diamond necklaces. They are sort of classy…

Day Two—Milan


I rush to Bottega Veneta through a thick morning fog. The collection is a blend of chic and sporty in a deep fall color palette. When I win the Lotto, I will buy every piece…


There is a major street-style scene outside the Salvatore Ferragamo show. The photographers are going mad, and I am under the impression that I am having a moment in my burgundy Marni look, when I realize the cameras are focused on a high-profile lady fashion blogger standing behind me…


Inside, Massimiliano Giornetti presents an elegant collection of traditional, youthful tailored clothing. I realize that I do not miss the athletic references from last season. It all seems so 2013…


Calvin Klein is known almost as much for its casting as for its clothes. Fifteen of today’s catwalk models are exclusive to the brand, and the leading man on the runway, Pier-Gabriel Lajoie, had a previous career as a featured player in naughty films. (Text me, Pier-Gabriel.) Italo Zucchelli sends out an array of bulky neoprene sweatshirts with the brand’s perfume names emblazoned across the front (Eternity, Obsession, Escape). There are also lamé pants like the kind I used to wear to London raves (but let’s not talk about my age)…


We are all excited for Missoni, where Angela Missoni offers an updated version of the brand’s hippie-chic look. Among the highlights are relaxed knitted suits, elongated cardigans, slouchy pants, and furry shoes…
At Prada, the metallic set is ominous. I feel a bit scared. The clothes suggest a new direction: Miuccia Prada pulls off a marvelous incongruity—formfitting blazers and topcoats that seem to flow…


 Thom Browne invites us into a kind of gentleman’s club at Moncler Gamme Bleu, packed with models. It is an explosion of argyle. Even the ottomans are argyle. The collection is top-notch Thom…

spider

A spider

Photo By Barry Blitt

treadmill

A treadmill

Photo By Barry Blitt

Appeared In
Special Issue
Menswear issue M Spring 2014

Day Three—Milan

 

I am awake, out of bed, and in the hotel gym—only to find a lady who is slowly promenading on the only treadmill. The rules of hotel-gym etiquette are clear, are they not? When there is only one treadmill, limit your workout to thirty minutes, max…


We begin at Emporio Armani, where the designer delivers a collection of skinny suits and tons of faux-fur outerwear. Then we rush to Marc Jacobs’ press-only exhibition, where Mordechai Rubinstein, the terribly amusing PR man, leads us through a collection inspired by Bryan Ferry (my hero): baggy suits, velvet dinner jackets, elongated bathrobe-like coats…


Gucci’s preview, with Frida Giannini, is next. After a prolonged screaming match between Gucci press reps and security guards at the backstage entrance, we are allowed in. Giannini walks us through an inspiration board based on Canadian artist Kris Knight and sixties fashion icons such as Marcello Mastroianni, Rudolf Nureyev, and Alain Delon…


Frida mentions that Alain Delon Jr. will be closing the show. I ask to meet him right away. I am totally obsessed with Alain Delon Sr., so anything that gets me closer to him, I want. Alain Jr. turns out to be a cool kid, as handsome as his dad…


We hit Tod’s at Villa Necchi Campiglio. (I love that place!) To our surprise, Diego Della Valle presents the launch of a complete ready-to-wear collection. It translates Della Valle’s bon-vivant aesthetic into buttery suede jackets and luxe shearling peacoats. Love…


Then it is on to Andrea Incontri. (I am starving, btw. We never seem to eat during these trips.) Incontri, who is someone to watch, goes for a blend of urban and athletic inspirations in a vibrant color palette—from rich mustard to burgundy and teal…


Etro celebrates the tailors who toil in the company’s small factories across Italy’s Apulia region by having them walk the runway with the models. The collection is centered on traditional tailoring and outerwear in English heritage patterns, such as tartans, checks, and plaids. The soundtrack is rooted in the Apulia region, with the obsessive rhythm of the tarantella. My sweet little coworker tells me the name “tarantella” originates in the myth of a girl doing a mad dance after being bitten by a tarantula. I love useless trivia…


At Canali, an adorable old man plays lovely tunes on a grand piano. Velvet blazers in powder pink, aubergine, and teal are among the highlights. The last show is Fendi. This collection is not for PETA supporters, considering the fur-heavy lineup and goatskin runway. I want it in my living room…


At night, we go to Superstudio+, where Boy George is deejaying. Bodyguards surround him, staring out at two thousand semi-naked, semi-drunk revelers…

Day Four—Milan


I awake with Fashion Week Fever. Soon, I am leaping out of a hired car stuck in Milan traffic, and I sprint to Giorgio Armani’s show (I am winded; I need to get to the gym) just in time to see a strong collection of softly tailored three-piece suits together with handsome belted coats and textured knits…


After a major cappuccino infusion, we head to Z Zegna, the younger and more fashion-forward brand from Ermenegildo Zegna. Paul Surridge presents an ultracool superhero on a futuristic set. The soundtrack is techno. I feel an urge to stay out all night. Four-button suits, hooded puffers, and voluminous topcoats are the collection’s most dramatic pieces…


I am relieved when we arrive at Roberto Cavalli, the final Milan show. And Cavalli hits every mark. Then again, I am the biggest lover of snake prints in the universe…


After that, I head off to re-sees, because, of course, I need to spend every waking moment seeing more, more, more! I love every second. Ciao, Italia…

Appeared In
Special Issue
Menswear issue M Spring 2014

Day Five—Paris

 

The wheels hit the Orly runway. With no time to lose, we speed to Carven, the first show of Paris fashion week. It’s a balance between American workwear (denim jackets and such) and sleekly updated gentleman’s staples (skinny herringbone suits). Backstage, designer Guillaume Henry says he is interested in the mix of twentieth-century American gangster and French high couture…


I need more clothes like I need a hole in the head, but I hear Dries Van Noten is having a sale. A Van Noten sale is like a religious experience, don’t you think? At his lovely boutique, I am pretty well behaved…


The Valentino show takes place at Hôtel Salomon de Rothschild, a mansion in the heart of Paris. Will Smith is backstage. “No interviews,” he says. I can’t control myself. “I love you, Fresh Prince!” I say, and he flashes me a smile. The Valentino collection is definitely on the amazing side, feat. double-faced coats, some with geometric designs that mimic the kilim rugs laid across the runway. Pajama-like pin-striped suits and a touch of tweed create a bohemian vibe. #loveit…


We slog through the Renaults of Paris rush hour all the way to Le Marais, which is starting to resemble Manhattan’s Soho. Here, Haider Ackermann is having his second men’s show. The collection is romantic and cozy. Rich woolen overcoats, textured blazers, turtlenecks. Major. Next is Raf: It’s a chic collection (with collaborator Sterling Ruby) concentrated on sportswear with street influences. It’s bright and bold…


At Caviar Kaspia, Valentino throws a lovely supper, feat. frozen vodka, smoked salmon, and caviar. Also on the menu: male supermodels such as Arthur Gosse and Nicolas Ripoll. It’s the perfect ending to a day in Paris—but I could have done without the last of those frozen vodkas…

Day Six—Paris


I wake up feeling the frozen vodkas, and my Chanel hydration mask does nothing to revive me. At the 3.1 Phillip Lim show, I am talking with an American editor about how we all live our lives based on astrologist Susan Miller. Lim delivers a strong collection feat. an urban-cowboy look. Much leather and denim. Also: cape-like parkas…


I head to Balmain, where designer Olivier Rousteing mentions that he likes my Instagram. I like his animal-print varsity jacket and military parka with fox-fur trim…


With a minute to spare, I meet a few fellow Spaniards for a bite. As soon as we walk into the brasserie, I realize we are about to experience that French cult classic: the bitchy Parisian waiter. He starts by ignoring us. When I ask him to please wipe the table, he responds that it is not dirty. When I order salad with the dressing on the side, his laser gaze bores a hole through me…


Next show: Rick Owens, the King of Goth. He presents a mix of monastic elements (leather tunics) and athleticwear (basketball shorts). The result is a menacing, retro street-goth kid…


Outside Louis Vuitton, I win some attention from the street-style photogs, and my ego floats upward (#egodrivenlife). On my way in, I run into Ladyfag, from New York…


Kim Jones delivers a major show, using vicuña and chinchilla in an ultrachic collection. The set is inspired by NASA maps of the Atacama Desert…


Dries Van Noten’s show takes place in the raw space of the Grand Palais’ ground floor. He goes with tie-dye and a rich palette that includes pinks, yellows, greens, and deep blues, in everything from bomber jackets to double-breasted blazers…


Before stepping into Phillip Lim’s after-party at Silencio, I run into a French PR girl of my acquaintance. She is having a cigarette. I don’t normally smoke, but this is Paris. I ask for a cigarette, and she gives me one, saying it’s menthol, which are said to shrink one’s balls. “OK, well, I suppose I won’t have that cigarette,” I say. Why risk it? Downstairs, I find a sea of models, editors, and other creatures of the night, all dancing and sweating. In the booth is female model of the moment Aymeline Valade. Let me tell you, that girl dances like a maniac…

Appeared In
Special Issue
Menswear issue M Spring 2014

Day Seven—Paris

 

I am sleeping, and sleeping, and sleeping, and I miss my gym window. I am not happy this way. I get up and head almost immediately to the Junya Watanabe show—it’s an explosion of British references, from country-gent foxhunting to ’70s glam. Love those Ziggy Stardust headpieces and colorful kicker boots…


Next is Maison Martin Margiela. And look there, it’s Will Smith. Hello again, Fresh Prince! I like the bright blue raincoat and the biker jacket made out of diving vests…


Ah, Givenchy! One of my favorites. As soon as I arrive, I meet the two nice-looking German bears known as DJ Discodrom. They invite me to see them spin at their favorite party, called Snax. Apparently, it is an all-black-leather fetish rave. Hmmm. I tell them that, for me, wearing black leather requires a total emotional commitment and stability that I am not sure I possess at the moment. Back to the show. Givenchy this season is totally major…


The collection appears on a set resembling a New York City basketball court. Sharp tailoring pieces are paired with baggy sweatpants. Also, we have awesome parkas in fine leathers, and athletic jerseys. Riccardo Tisci knows what his consumer wants. I join the throng congratulating him backstage, and I see Kanye West standing behind me in a floor-length fur coat. I overhear him say that he cannot wait to wear everything he has just seen. I introduce myself, telling him I loved Yeezus. He smiles and says thank you. He seems very, very shy…


Fashion week can be lonely (#emotionallyneedy), and I am growing tired of all the same peeps. I am in desperate need of a fake new best friend, and so I am thrilled—while taking a seat at the Comme des Garçons show—to meet a girl who immediately starts telling me all about her life. She is a Canadian living in Paris, and she tells me that you don’t really need to have a big love affair here, because the city is so romantic and your main relationship is with Paris itself. Very Carrie Bradshaw. That kind of thinking, I suggest, allows for an enhanced inner sluttishness. She says yes, yes, but French men smell, and they are also compulsive cheaters. I love this conversation, mainly because I think generalizations should
become an Olympic sport…


The show is focused on dark old-world tailoring. Leave it to Rei Kawakubo to add a touch of strangeness by outfitting the models with masks made of hair, in the shape of gas masks…


We run to Berluti to see the first formal runway show since the brand launched ready-to-wear. Designer Alessandro Sartori applies his Made in Italy look to the ensemble, splashing the statement coats with rich browns, burgundies, and beiges. Three-piece suits (a seasonal trend) in tweed and double-breasted tuxedos ensure an ultrasophisticated look…


In the evening, I attend the party thrown by Ladyfag and Josh Wood to celebrate the Givenchy show. I arrive too late for the meal, so I sit in the dark and sip a red-wine dinner (my food journal is burning with lies). The whole thing is like a fashion Love Boat, with a hint of acid. #memorable…


Afterward, I tell the driver to take me to the Pigalle, where, in my late-nineties youth, I saw my first drag queen at a tiny discotheque of dubious reputation. Sadly, the little hole-in-the-wall club is now a store. #melancholy…

Day Eight—Paris


At 7:30, I hit the hotel gym. I do my thing while listening to Daft Punk. I show off some of my dance moves to the cute Chinese couple in spandex. They didn’t see it coming…


When I get dressed, I am a little pissed because I have to wear my second outfit option: I have seen too many fashion queens wearing the Dries pants I was planning to wear on this day. But what do you expect? We all drink from the same fashion fountain…


Kenzo stages a show that demonstrates why this once-sleepy brand has become a cult phenomenon. Wow. The exit by the street is filled with screaming French girls who hope to glimpse the Korean pop stars who were in attendance. I know nothing of K-Pop and I am #feelingold…


Sacai is next. It’s a Japanese brand that is quickly becoming a fashion darling. The collection has some nice collegiate references. I especially like the toggle coats…


On to the Acne presentation. The main look features an urban snowboarder with baggy pants, zippers at the bottom. Also, some futuristic parkas…


Dior’s backstage preview is next. Kris Van Assche takes us through a collection that mixes three-button suits with lux streetwear elements (military-inspired parkas and jeans). The flow is great. Kendrick Lamar is front row…


After Dior, it is time for A.P.C. This is always an amusing appointment because the brand’s owner, Jean Touitou, personally takes us through the collection in an intimate setting. Touitou has the Parisian attitude of “I don’t really care,” but he is brilliant and funny. Kanye West, who has collaborated with A.P.C., is standing in the middle of the room. I ask him a couple of questions, but he does not answer. Not even a sound. So after a silence, followed by more silence, I repeat that I loved his last album. He smiles and says, “Thank you very much.”


Touitou starts showing the collection based on re-creating the looks of Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Jacobs, and Kurt Cobain. He then introduces Kanye, whose voice breaks a bit when he begins talking about the collection. Perhaps suffering a slight case of nerves, he focuses directly on one person as he speaks. And guess what? He chooses me, of course…


After a moment, he calms down, probably thanks to my serenity gaze. He doesn’t talk much about the clothes but more about how people typecast him as a singer and rapper and don’t take him seriously as a designer. It is endearing...


Hermès delivers a lovely show, with three-button suits and slouchy topcoats. The use of rich leather, part of the brand’s DNA, is prevalent. I could totally use some of those clothes. Maybe one day…


The last show of the day is Alexandre Mattiussi’s Ami. The set resembles a vintage postcard of a snowy Paris square with gas streetlamps. The lineup focuses on his relaxed approach to Parisian street chic. How can you not like it?


Dinner at Anahi, the Argentinean restaurant. We have a blast! Meat and mojitos with friends. The conversation centers on fashion, sex, magazines, sex, plastic surgery, models, Rihanna vs. Beyoncé, and sex. Olivier Rousteing is a wonderful host, very playful and funny, more friend than business relation. This is how it is in the menswear business. There is a sense of camaraderie, with just enough of a hint of bitchiness to keep you on your toes. But it’s a friendly atmosphere. Women’s fashion, on the other hand, is like The Hunger Games…

Day Nine—Paris


I am freaking out. Today is the last day of shows, and, after having seen so many runways, I now speak only fashion as a mother tongue…


On to the Lanvin show, where Alber Elbaz and his men’s designer, Lucas Ossendrijver, push the brand’s boundaries by wedding a New Wave aesthetic (bright pink bomber jacket, lightning prints, skinny ties) to traditional tailoring. #obsessed…


We hit Umit Benan. This is the first time he has shown in Paris. His collection, inspired by Jackie Robinson, results in a handsome lineup of old-school dandies in three-piece suits with high-waisted pants. I love when designers play with American heritage…


We hit Paul Smith, who is totally channeling Jim Morrison with a hint of psychedelia for his fall collection. Next, we enter the fable-like realm of Thom Browne, who presents an array of impeccably tailored tweed and flannel suits in all variations of menswear patterns, worn with fantasy headwear, including deer antlers, rabbit ears, and even an elephant head. Wild…


The last show of the season is Saint Laurent. Anna Wintour is front row. Hedi Slimane continues with the ultra-skinny rocker teddy-boy look but adds some traditional English check fabrics in raglan-sleeve coats and handsome trenchcoats…


The lights go on, and just like that—it’s all over. I say my good-byes and get in the car. My driver, Gerard Galy, has been taking me through Paris for more than seven years now, but I realize I don’t know much about him. So, we are having our usual small talk on the way back to the hotel when I venture to ask him about his youth. After a couple of short answers, Gerard opens up at last. You won’t believe it, but he was once an actor who worked with Gérard Depardieu and Alain Delon (small parts, but speaking parts, he says). He even appeared in three scenes of a Dallas episode, when Bobby Ewing goes to Paris in search of his missing wife. Unbefuckinglievable! Then we speak of life decisions, regrets, and the importance of letting go in order to be happy. And then it hits me. I am having an intense personal talk with a Parisian. It has taken me only seven years, but it is pretty major.


Let me spell it for you: M-A-J-O-R.