Being that everything that I brought to Florence is worthless enough that I will probably be leaving it here, I was not very well equipped for Vogue’s Fashion Night Out, which takes over the streets of Florence, Milan, and various other big cities throughout the world to celebrate fashion; yet another one of Italy’s artistic masterpieces. Fashion Night Out is kind of like a street fair; where big-name designers like Armani and Gucci and lots of other stores which have clothing that is worth more than my life open up their doors until late (11:30 pm) to showcase the season’s newest designs.
Even if you show up with like ten euro (as I did– didn’t want to tempt myself…) to be there in itself is insane. The streets are pure pandemonium, crowded with people in their best outfits, decked out in heels, stumbling around with champagne glasses on the cobblestone from the last store they visited. Models covered in body paint and designers making surprise appearance intermingle on the sidewalks and inside the stores with security guards in suits hanging out around them.
Walking into stores that I usually don’t even bother to look at in my $30 dress from Century 31 (literally the nicest thing that I own– my life is sad) with a champagne glass in my hand and looking at such beautiful things is kind of like being in a museum in Florence since clothing is more like real art than a piece of fabric here. However, I’m reminded who we are and where we come from when we can’t get into one store because we’re not on “The List” and we get yelled at for taking pictures when we thought no one was looking. Whoops.
In Florence, fashion is art, and everyone from designers to the lady next to you walking to work remind you of this everyday. It’s nice to see things so well-made and so intricately designed that vary greatly from the standard Northface and Ugg boots that we get back in the States. I think that one of the coolest things about it is that even though the stuff I’m seeing on these racks is beautiful, in Florence, you don’t need that kind of money to make something your own. Italians could put on a pair of sweatpants and make them chic by strapping on a pair of heels and some pink sunglasses. It’s a quiet confidence, a noncommittal care, that makes Italy and maybe Europe as a whole different from the States.
Back home, even if I see something kind of cool that I do actually like, sometimes I feel like I’ll stand out too much from the skirt-and-tank at the bar or the yoga pants-sweatshirt in class. Plus, the inspiration is missing, too– at home, what do you have to be inspired with? The girl next to you in a Victoria’s Secret hoodie? Or… the other girl in a Victoria’s Secret hoodie (that probably cost $50)? In Florence, not only are you inspired and awed by the Duomo, Ponte Vecchio, the David, but you are inspired by the ordinary people with ordinary wallets and extraordinary attitudes. (And extraordinary closets).