I am way, way over my head here.
And how different this was from the previous night!
I am introduced to various people, only one of whom I will remember – and that’s because we’re going to his wife’s shop (or, rather ex-shop) soon.
Eventually Si and I go to get a glass of prosecco and I manage to grab a small chocolate sweet from one of the waiters passing by who, until now have passed close to me but not close enough for me to grab anything and, anyway, seem to be moving through the room at something close to the speed of light. Most of the time, the ones that get close enough are carrying empty plates back.
The people around me speak mostly Italian and far too fast for me to understand. The men are dressed in suits with ties (no jeans) and the women have on their finest designer outfits and are all “beautiful” and “thin”.
This may be Design Week but one could be excused for confusing this with Fashion Week.
Si had only texted me when she had arrived at the shop (or, as we should now call them, Flagship Store.) Initially, I thought I’d say “no”. I was already tired from the night before but then I thought that I never really do these things and that I really should. What’s the point in living here if I don’t experience the “high life” once in a while. So I had rushed to change and to get there and I was now hot and bothered. She is dressed with a pink theme but doesn’t look out of place. I feel out of place since I have jeans, a casual white shirt (a little unusual – as is my wont) and a “suit-type” jacket.
After a little while we go to our next place. Si’s colleague, M’s wife used to own one of the most famous jewellers in Milan (apparently since I had never heard of them). We walk to the shop. On the way, in Via Montenapoleone (one of the main fashion streets in Milan), we pass their other shop. M goes over to say hello to someone there and then beckons us over. Apparently we should be going to this shop and not the other one. This shop, though, is not their historical main store but, rather, one that is exclusively for Rolex watches. In fact, I learn, this was the very first Rolex Flagship store in the world.
The party is in full swing. As for most places, there are people on the door checking if you are “on the list”. If you’re not “on the list” or know someone inside, you won’t get in. Of course, we are with the husband of the ex-owner (her cousin now owns it but she goes because it’s expected as she can meet and greet some of the long-term clients that will be there), so we get in.
Si seems very pleased with all this. She works in Marketing for a Luxury Brand (but not fashion) so there could be a tie-in.
Here the clientèle at the party are richer than the previous party. The men are not all in suites but, then, the crowd is older. I say older and that’s not entirely true. The men are older, some of the women are older but some are there because they’re not. However, there is so much plastic in the room – most women seem to have been under the knife, some with disastrous results (in my opinion.) There was fur; there were jewels; there was plastic – everywhere.
The shop is not that big but opulent would be a good word to use. The carpet thick, the wood special and lots of it and, of course, the watches. Now, personally, I really don’t like Rolex as a watch. Too much – I prefer simple watches – simple faces, preferably white or blue – even if mine are quite expensive (not as much as a Rolex though.)
The food was fantastic. They did little burgers that were so tasty (and, obviously NOT McDonald’s) and some proper Risotto Milanese. Si knew the chef (I’m not sure how she found that out) who is quite famous here, apparently and has a restaurant near Bergamo. Anyway, she mentioned something to one of the waiters and the next thing was that the chef came out to say hello to her – and me – and bearing another tray of the delightful mini burgers (just a mouthful each time – I had about 5!)
The shop had a “vertical” garden at the back, a roof terrace on the top floor and, on the same floor, a very large balcony that overlooked via Montenapoleone. Quite stunning.
It was all very nice but, to be honest, I preferred the previous night. There weren’t any real “designers” at these parties, just people who were to be “seen”.
I wasn’t way over my head because of the people so much as the fact that I don’t have the “culture” knowledge that they do. I mean, I know stuff but when people mention this designer or that artist, quite often I don’t have a clue who they are. Mostly I say I don’t know them. Sometimes, just because otherwise it gets boring, I say “Oh really?” – thank God they don’t ask too many questions.
Although, obviously, these people, especially at the Rolex shop, do move in a different world from me.
Still, it was all very nice and I’m glad I went but I did prefer the previous night where I got to meet “real” people rather than “plastic” people.