Milan Fashion Week

Starring BB & Gucciolo

I’ve recently come home from a really fun experience at Milan Fashion Week and if you’ve been reading the fashion news reports from the runway, you’ll understand exactly what the photo above is all about! If not… don’t worry, I will explain but before we get to that, I want to tell you the story about my lifelong love affair of all things fashion and beauty, something that goes back to when I was just a little girl. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, since I came up with the new tagline to display on the eye-catching awning of my new boutique in Ibiza: Barbara Bonner – Conceiving beauty since 1975.

You see, when I was a child, my mum was very into fashion and she’d receive all the latest issues of the best magazines, like Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, in the mail (remember, this was in the days of hard copies, it was nothing like today when we see all the latest fashion news and photos on our computers). I remember the feeling of excitement when I’d be coming home from school and she’d pick them up from the post box… I was always asking if I could open them up before she did – and now, looking back, I understand how difficult this must have been for her, because she had that same anticipation about turning the pages for the first time and discovering what was trending.

I was always craving to be part to this world of fashion, glamour and beauty. Although I denied my calling for a while – going off to study psychology at university – I was always dreaming about creating these fantastic editorials. I still wanted to belong. When Fashion Week first came on my radar, I originally hoped I could go and assist on the styling of the catwalk shows… but it was not to be. Instead, my first ever fashion week (and many, many afterwards) saw me slaving away trying to sell my designs to buyers from major stores around the world. There was never any time to enjoy the parties or the shows.

My mum would tease me about my way into the fashion world. She’d say: “You went into this industry because you always wanted to see the catwalk shows – but you never get the chance because you’re always selling to your customers.” She was right. Ultimately, I decided to give up selling wholesale to buyers and stores and stopped doing the Fashion Week circuits in January 2017. It was at this time I decided to open my own exclusive stores around the world, in addition to my online shop. Now finally, after 20 years of working in fashion, I can go to Fashion Week without any stress and I am really enjoying it!

Where I live in Verona is just one hour from Milan by train, so I decided to attend this year, purely for the sake of having some fun. To spend time getting dressed up, going to the hairdresser, walking around all the shows and trade shows, seeing my friends and colleagues. I booked myself into The Yard, which is a really cool, British-style hotel that say they’re for a ‘secret society of mature individuals’. Think Soho House kind of vibes, very cosy and stylish but also super cool.

While I was at Milan Fashion Week, I went to see the talented designer Alice of Montegallo hats (I’ve given you a sneak peek at her creations before, in one of my very first blogs), who was doing a trade show. I’m excited to be stocking a selection of her range in my shop this summer, and she’ll also be doing a pop-up where she customises hats for my customers. I really like Alice a lot – she’s the kind of woman I love to work with and bond with (recently I have started using the hashtag #wildwomensisterhood to recognise these wonderful women on Instagram) and we had a great time together, a bit like the Thelma & Louise of Fashion Week!

My favourite look for the week is the one you see in the photos with Alice – my favourite flared jeans by The Seafarer (a brand I will also be stocking in my shop this summer – if you want that 70s look, these are the only jeans you’ll ever need) and a checked shirt that is one of my all-time favourite timeless wardrobe pieces. It’s so comfortable, it’s almost like a blanket for me! I accessorised with my favourite Altea Bag, with my own vintage scarf tied on to style it my way. This piece is the perfect bag for fashion week – it’s so chic and structured, and it fits everything you need in it, but it’s still quite compact and comfortable so you don’t have to look and feel like a bag lady when you’re carrying all your things around.

Now, the undeniable fashion moment of the season was the incredible Gucci show, which brings us back to my explanation of the photo above. Gucci’s creative director Alessandro Michele gave the fantasy-like catwalk production the most incredible theatrical twists, with models going down the runway carrying picture-perfect replicas of their own heads and the piece de resistance… a baby dragon! They say the meaning behind the girls carrying their own heads was ‘a metaphor for carrying the spiritual burden of one’s own evolution and self-awareness’ – which is definitely something I can relate to, which you’ll know if you’ve been reading my previous blogs.

And as for the meaning of the baby dragon… well, who doesn’t want a baby dragon? The very second I saw it, I wanted my own immediately and while I didn’t have the contacts for the ‘real’ thing, by a bizarre twist of fate, it turns out my boyfriend’s family are in the toy industry, so I called him and put him on the case to get me the next best thing. Of course, he thought I was looking for the toy for my daughter Mia, and was running around like crazy trying to find one for her. Eventually he realised it was for me of course… and he still got me one! We had so much fun walking around Milan with the baby dragon, who we named ‘Gucciolo’, which is an Italian play on words for Gucci pet. In Italian, when you get a puppy or a kitten, you call it a ‘cucciolo’…

Talk about making a short story long – let me get back to the meaning of the main photo. You may have seen on Instagram, A-listers, fashionistas and people who are good with Photoshop all over the world are now doing the #GucciChallenge – posting pics of themselves holding their own heads. So of course, I had to do my own. Two BBs are better than one? The photo makes me laugh – I am totally wearing my resting bitch face but really, I was just playing around. Even a good girl needs to put on a bitch face every now and then, and where better than fashion week, where the look originated? After all these years of working – it’s my turn to be a bitch now, bitches!