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Torrens Study Abroad: Italy

Billy Blue Student checks out Milan Fashion Week

Our student, Leah Musch, just got to experience what every Fashionista dreams of: Milan Fashion Week.

Leah is currently studying Branded Fashion Design at Billy Blue. She recently applied through the Torrens Study Abroad program to spend a trimester in Italy at our sister school NABA (Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti Milano). Read about her adventure below:

I had been excited about Milan Fashion Week from the moment I realized that I would be in Milan during the ‘Spring Summer 2018’ event. But nothing could have prepared me (nor my fragile feet) for such an intense whirlwind experience.

Torrens Study Abroad: Italy

Despite the fact that most of the fashion shows are strictly invite only, reserved for industry professionals such as buyers, press and celebrities, my friends and I managed to bluff our way into a few small shows and attend many of the events open to the public. One of our fellow classmates was able to score a seat at the Versace show by demanding that her name had been left off the invite list pretty impressive!

My Fashion Week experience first began outside the Fendi show. I had heard tales of the streets being filled with fashionable bloggers and celebrities alike, but the energy of the scene when I first arrived was so much more electric than I’d anticipated. Photographers were running left and right, as every moment a new dazzling goddess would appear out of nowhere, strutting with confidence from one end of the street-turned-catwalk to the other.

Torrens Study Abroad: Italy

I had my camera in hand and had strategically planned a weeks’ worth of blogger-worthy outfits to wear. On this day, I had decided to wear a matching pant and dress combo in bright green featuring a quirky fish print, teamed with black boots and a striped leather handbag. Before leaving for Milan I had put a call out on my Instagram for small labels and upcoming fashion designers to lend or gift me their designs so that I could wear them during fashion week and hopefully expose their brand to an international audience. My plan was to act like a famous Australian blogger and get photographed by as many people as I could. After spending about an hour outside the Fendi show, observing and photographing bloggers and briefly spotting Anna Wintour which I took as a good omen, I had gained enough confidence to give it a go myself. Imitating the slightly rushed strut and a semi-disinterested facial expression, I boldly walked into the limelight (which at this stage was a graffiti-covered brick wall). I stood there, and within two seconds a pack of photographers had appeared and started snapping photos. I posed, I smiled, I tried as hard as I could to hide the fact that I was actually freaking out on the inside, afraid that someone would realize that I’m actually a dork. A man handed me a pair of flashy sunglasses to wear for their Instagram. Another person filmed me explaining my outfit. I was getting the hang of this now.

Torrens Study Abroad: Italy

In between waiting outside shows like Moschino and Versace, I observed and documented as much as I could. One of the subjects I was studying at NABA called Styling required me to be a “Cool Hunter”, and my task was to present an assignment about the strongest trends I found during Fashion Week. I felt completely emerged and was having an immense amount of fun both in front of and behind the camera. At the end of each day, I felt like I had whiplash from turning my head so quickly so many times. There was just so much to see!

It was fantastic the way that my classes at NABA also integrated themselves with Fashion Week. For my styling subject, we went on a class excursion to the Fashion Hub Market held inside the Unicredit

Pavilion in Piazza Gae Aulenti. This event run by the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana featured a pop-up style market with 14 carefully selected international and Italian up and coming emerging brands. We were lucky enough to have a quick Q&A with each designer, with them explaining their collections, inspirations and methods. For our Trends & Forecasting subject, we were treated to invitations to the fashion show of Italian brand Roccobarocco.

Torrens Study Abroad: Italy

One of our teachers also offered 8 students the chance to help backstage at a fashion show, dressing the models. Instantly, I put myself forward for the position and was lucky enough to gain a spot. It was a fast-paced experience, and it felt awesome to be behind the scenes.

A highlight for me was somehow managing to get a front row seat at the show of an upcoming designer label called Brognano. Their show was fresh and experimental, with models adorned with dramatic taffeta dresses and bold ruffled gowns. As I sat there in the dark I felt immensely present. I was here, I was in it, and my dreams were coming true.

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