Milan Fashion Week: Behind the scenes at the catwalk shows
Glamour, excess and sex appeal are the key to the Italian look, says Susannah Frankel. Photographer Martino Lombezzi went backstage at Milan Fashion Week earlier this month to capture the action
If the heart of French fashion lies in rarefied haute couture, Italy is the spiritual home of ready-to-wear. From the 1950s onwards, family-run businesses pioneered techniques to translate a hitherto elitist craft form into a lucrative, designer-led industry that was as creative as it was polished.
Today, Milan fashion week, which takes place between the London and Paris collections, is the place to be seen dressing to impress: it is here, and only here, that wearing head-to-toe labels is not merely advisable but an essential part of everyday life.
As for the signature styles of this nation's designers, while they are, obviously, diverse, they tend to have in common an unashamed sexuality, opulence and declaration of status that no other place in the world can rival. This is not the place for anything even remotely dark and distressed.
Instead, body-conscious clothing (look no further than Versace), talon-heeled footwear (Salvatore Ferragamo has been catering to the rich and famous for years) and, of course, more fine wool (Missoni) and fur and rare skins than may seem, to an English sensibility at least, entirely necessary, are the order of the day.
Italian fashion also loves big, dark sunglasses – wear them all year round and not necessarily outdoors – ruby-red lips and long, glossy hair. It's all molto sexy, and glamorous with a capital G.
Life & Style blogs
Husband creates spreadsheet detailing wife's 'excuses' for turning down sex
Watching TV after work makes you feel 'guilty and like a failure'
Alien: Isolation preview - If you scream in space, it makes a sound
Xiaomi Mi4: 'Chinese Apple' launches flagship mobile to challenge iPhone
Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 1 Fifty Shades of Grey trailer: First look at Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey
- 2 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 3 50 books for students to read this summer: From Ernest Hemingway to Gillian Flynn
- 4 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
£21804 - £31868 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you a dynamic En...
competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Experienced Lead SAP Data Manager Requir...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...
£18000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: Huxley Associates are looking...