Back at the Piazza del Duomo, I took a closer look at several posters and billboards advertising some important event. Turns out it was going to take place this night, right here, in celebration of the world of fashion.
People were already darting back and forth on a huge stage constructed directly in front of the cathedral, busy moving this or that, talking into walkie-talkies, testing microphones. We couldn’t believe our luck — this was obviously where we’d spend the rest of the evening!
This was a big deal: big-name models, celebrities and musical acts. Unbelievably, the whole show was free. More and more people arrived, most decked out to the nines, obvious fashion aficionados themselves.
And then the show started. First, model after model walked artfully down the long runway as only models do, sporting exotic clothing of such fashion greats as Armani, Gucci, Prada, Versace.
Next, entertainment enlivened the crowd: performers, singers, bands. We recognized Slash from Guns-n-Roses. Rumor had it that Janet Jackson was in town and would make an appearance on stage. She was, but she didn’t; her participation didn’t include this night’s festivities.
Dramatic bursts of light illuminated the stage and the piazza. I turned around to look up at the Duomo, the lacy pinnacles of its Gothic spires so incongruous with the techno-explosions emitting from the facing stage.
Then I laughed. The Duomo had been turned into a contemporary billboard! Playing over the face of this marble masterpiece were colorful words projected from the scaffolding: “Milan Loves Fashion.”
Then it was over and everyone slowly drifted away.
We sprang into action and loped down the subway stairs to beat the crowds. In a flash we were deposited back to the Central Station and walked the few blocks back to our “Best” hotel, content with our day’s discoveries.