The White Show is one of Milan’s largest fashion industry trade shows for women’s wear. The show is held quarterly, always during women’s or men’s fashion week, in exhibition spaces on Via Tortona, in the heart of Milan’s fashion district.
Over 21,000 visitors attend the show each season. The White Show serves as a platform for up and coming designers to showcase their collections to buyers scouting for new, fresh brands to supply at their stores. In addition to designers and buyers, members of the press are also encouraged to attend. All registered exhibitors are able to invite guests as well.
The exhibition space is somewhat like a maze. At the immediate entrance there is a showcase of high-end beauty products. Upon entering the main room, one cascades by booth after booth of impeccable merchandise. At each booth, the designer(s) is present with samples from their latest collection and all the information needed to place an order for their products.
To be quite honest, the show as a whole was overwhelming. There is so much beauty and raw talent under one roof that one can not possibly absorb all of it to the fullest. The intricacy and innovativeness of the designs present makes you feel like you are in a museum rather than a trade show.
See & Be Seen
Something I wished I had snapped photos of but didn’t was the jaw-dropping street style of the attendees. I couldn’t tell you who was a buyer, member of the press, or a guest, but regardless of who they were, almost everyone was dressed to kill. To see what I’m talking about, check out the show’s Instagram account or location tag.
I quickly lost count of the number of limited-edition Chanel and Hermès Birkin bags that I saw. Let’s not forget about the dramatic coats and furs that people were wearing during a hot September afternoon. You know the Fendi handbag straps that were released like a month ago? Yeah, I lost count of how many of those I saw too.
I could go on and on and on and on and on and on and on about the looks I saw and outfit inspo I got that day. But the point I want to hammer home is that these people didn’t just throw on a bunch of luxury labels in an attempt to look wealthy. On the contrary, they threw on a bunch of luxury labels in a (successful) attempt to look stylish. And old age was certainly no excuse to dress down. In fact, I saw some 60-somethings who were better dressed than attendees in their twenties.
So I bet you’re wondering, “Victoria is not a retail buyer, designer, or member of the press…How did she get into this thing?” Great question! By some act of God, my boyfriend Alessandro had recently contacted a childhood friend of his who lives in Milan and works in the fashion industry. “I think she works for Gucci or Armani or something similar”, he tells me with zero inflection in his voice. “I know you like fashion so maybe I can introduce you to her.” Yeah, good thinking guy.
As it turns out, his friend Annie is completing a stage (or, apprenticeship) as a shoe designer for Versace as part of her master’s degree program. Dope, right? It gets better. In addition to working full-time for the maison, she has her own label, ANNIE Collections. And this isn’t some side gig. Annie’s shoes are modern, feminine, luxurious, classy, amongst a host of other adjectives to describe good design. They’re also ready to be sold.*
After getting together for a cocktail a few days before the White Show, Annie extended us an invitation to the White Show. And in case you couldn’t already guess, I was very, very grateful.
*Stay tuned for a more in-depth piece about Annie and her shoe line.