Nicola Wood

Drapers: covering the catwalks


It’s the sixth day of Milan fashion week. I arrived on the 7am flight on Tuesday. I’m still tired, but that has more to do with the non-glamorous single room and box bed in the worst hotel I have ever stayed in.

Today kicks off at 9am with MaxMara. Everything runs late so I leave the hotel at 8.45. I make it, but it is not really worth the effort.

There are no relevant catwalks until 1pm, so I head to the press room to wrestle with the jobsworth Italian security men who prevent me from using the computers. They are meant only for newspaper journalists. I wear them down and spend several hours on the net choosing images from our photographer’s website.

Gucci was the best show today. All eyes were on it as Gucci Group’s profits have been nose-diving for about a year.

Designer Tom Ford had to turn things around and he did.

Then I check out Philosophy before stopping off at a packed Iceberg party.

After queuing for a drink for ages, Sam Docherty, Drapers’ fashion writer, and I give up on the party and head back to the squatty hotel – it’s 12.30 and we’re exhausted.


I spend the morning writing up the shows so far – which collections will influence the trends for the whole season and which are commercial enough for Drapers’ readership.

I have an interview with the chief executive of Bally International at 2pm to discuss the brand in the UK. It has faced criticism recently that it is now nothing more than an airport brand.

First I head to the Antonio Marras catwalk. Marras is set to take over the fashion house of Kenzo. The clothes are out of this world – fun, but not really Drapers.

I finish early this evening. I don’t have a ticket for Jil Sander’s show because its PR doesn’t believe Jil Sander needs Drapers. I meet our commercial team for a lovely dinner instead. We stop off at their hotel and see how the other half (advertising) live, with their double rooms and room service.


The last day in Milan starts with a bit of a bunfight at Fendi. Everyone with a standing-only ticket is kept back by imposing security men while those with seats go through. The only way to relieve the boredom is to laugh at those putting a show of airs and graces trying to get in on a standing-only ticket. I now know the question “Do you know who I am?” in several languages.

Britney and Christina’s favourite, Roberto Cavalli, has used Cher as his muse, so there are lots of leather hotpants and chaps – just right for Aguilera. Moschino is simply bizarre, finishing off with models racing around the U-shaped catwalk.

The evening ends with Versace. The collection is shockingly nasty with lots of frills and neons. At the end of the show I get a classic photo of Mariah Carey almost falling out of her dress.

We are invited to the after-show party at Donatella Versace’s apartment, but it doesn’t start until 11pm and our flight is at 7am tomorrow morning. I also have to write all my copy in time for first thing Monday. So we turn Donatella down.


The alarm goes off at 4.45am. I’m back in London by 8.30am, having slept through the whole flight.

I spend the afternoon writing the round-up of the week and choosing pictures on the internet. I need five images for the show of the week – Gucci – and four for the other 11 collections.

But the website seems to be a bit erratic. The photographer is probably uploading collections to it at the same time. I give up at 7.30pm.


In the office before 7am. My eight pages for Milan are late pages, held over from Friday’s section, so I need to have everything organised or the production desk might shoot me.

I spend two hours getting the pictures right. Everything is written and the art desk can lay it out from the low-res scans I pulled off the internet.

The hi-res images will arrive before the end of the day when the bike leaves the building.

The rest of the morning disappears as I write up snippets for our Off The Record gossip page. It will include my digital pic of Mariah Carey falling out of her dress. I spend the afternoon in meetings catching up with our managing editor and editor-in-chief regarding filling the vacant menswear writer position. We have whittled it down to three, but as the postholder has already left, we need to recruit someone as soon as possible.


Working on the 18 October issue today with three pages of static exhibition coverage in Milan from Sam to be read. Planning meetings are on the agenda to make sure things are in order for autumn 2004. The fashion desk hasn’t finished with spring 2004 yet! Then I get on the phone to the three potential menswear writers. It has taken almost three months to reach this point. I want to bring all three in for a test. There are few fashion journalists who have written for trade, so they need to be put through their paces.


After so many early mornings, I sleep through my alarm. I had set it for 6.45am but must have switched it off. I rush in to meet an applicant for the menswear writer position, who has to do a psychometric test until I arrive.

I am feeling so tired that I make sure all the copy is across for the week and take the afternoon off in lieu of the weekend I worked. Tomorrow I will write up Bally and think about autumn 2004 coverage.

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