it's been a year since you DISSAPEARED, the italian way of saying that someone is dead. gone. for some reason (embellishment) that is considered a vulgar word, so I shall not repeat it. point is, it's been a year and as time passes we realize what it was all about. the meaning of one's life. or at least that is what we would like to believe—if fashion has meaning so must everything else.
the path you followed is now legend
and it took me some time to figure that out as I always had the suspicion that LA SIGNORA DELLO STILE was too great, too clever a slogan to be true. a way of selling more newspapers and rags. besides, most fashion schools don't mention you very often. with the exception of Bunka, perhaps. after all, we japanese have always been your number one clients. sometimes you designed just for us. our devotion to your name was such we even bought your label:
mila schön lower case bold serif
and it says so much about you, the understatement. fifty years of understatement. wearing no make up, no heels. always essential. keeping it simple is a demon and it takes true class to master the fine balance between luxury and simplicity. hard work, the search and research for perfection in every single detail—for fifty years.
and you couldn’t cut nor sew
your only fashion school was travelling to Paris for fittings at Balenciaga and Dior, for your husband disliked seeing you wearing the same outfit more than once. what a devil. yet eventually times changed, he went broke and you went to work, at thirty-five. copying those french designs and selling them to your friends. you must have spent so much money in Paris you felt no shame in selling Paris to Milan, and soon enough you were selling Milan to the rest of the world
moving to via Montenapoleone 2
all unexpected: the speed, the glory, the divorce. you kept his name (in lower case) and threw yours away. Paris was no longer for sale you had your own ideas: "not how much, but how." a designer whose ultimate concern was noble elegance—how you were born and raised in Dalmatia then Trieste, then Milan. aristocracy on fabric, every stitch a statement of class by birthright. understated as there is no need to state the obvious. the opulence of the fifties a sign of weakness foreign to your veins.
ideas that shaped the future of what was to become
the essence of modern italian style. and what a future it was, the sixties and seventies. mila schön was the sixties and the seventies. geometry. the fusion of fashion and art. colors. a label that soon caught the attention of Giovan Battista Giorgini, il Marquese, bringing you to Pitti and the critical eyes of the gatekeepers of fashion wonderland. absolutely frightening. one shot that would change what is written and signed for many years—decades—the fortune of your lower case label.
the italian Coco Chanel
as Hebe Dorsey of Herald Tribune defined you after that show. your recipe of "luxury without glitter" approved and delivered worldwide—Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, her sister Lee Radziwill Ross, Babe Paley, Marella Agnelli. alta moda became alta moda pronta, ready-to-wear, ready-to-bear. a changing world too impatient for measurements to be taken, overlong fittings, conversation and tea. the future an overlock machine fed by a plastic card printed in capital letters
SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST
and fitting was something you knew all too well. you prospered. prospered beyond your imagination. prospered below your ability to make a woman feel titled. ever since the precision of your eyes was replaced by the precision of standards, nostalgia (a form of dust) descended upon via Montenapoleone 2—never to leave. nearly invisible to the NAKED eye, it veils XXI century technology, it veils the accomplishments of the talented youngsters now in charge of relaunching (a form of dusting off) yours truly
still lower case bold serif. still earning plenty of yens. the merits of this relaunch I leave to the first row. it sounds good, fashion journalists in particular love that word—RELAUNCH—as there's not much left for them to write about these days, since they are incapable of writing fiction consciously. any news is by definition good news, or else one risks not being invited to next season's show. mila schön relaunches—GOOD! it lifts the spirits of fashion in the same manner a rocket launch in Cape Canaveral lifts the spirits of us all—
a sign of hope
that perhaps one day we too will be riding that rocket, defy gravity and begin a new life in space, wearing new clothes—
a sign of hope
that perhaps mila schön will return to its former splendour, to fashion wonderland, and shine as bright as these dark times allow for. as schön as it's possible and impossible
Thank you for your interest in writing a short story for A Shaded View On Fashion Fiction. We are still in the early stages of this project, but I believe it won't take long to have it ready to go. I know writing takes time, so I thought it would be best to contact you now.
I've written a few guidelines that might give you a better insight into writing a piece for Fashion Fiction:
It's a very simple idea. All we ask you is to write us a story. It can be a real story (or based on a true story), or pure fiction. It doesn't matter. We consider all stories fiction. The only requirement is that it's fashion related. In this case we intend fashion in the broadest of senses.
The length of the story is also up to you. It can be a one page story, or several pages (submitted in parts perhaps).
The stories submitted will not be edited, and they will be published as they were sent. Including spelling mistakes and overall paragraph layout.
In case you choose to write about events that actually took place, it is important to present it as fiction. Therefore in some circumstances it would be appropriate not to use real names. Fashion Fiction is about your writing and not the people you are writing about.
The quality of the writing will also not be judged, as long as there's content and by content we intend it's a piece of fiction on fashion.
If you have any questions or even suggestions, please don't hesitate to contact me.
Daniel Area Wakahisa