Welcome to your brain at Milan Fashion Week

Michael the III suffers from an existential crisis while sitting at one of Milan Fashion Week’s most coveted front rows.

Ah—now this is a front row seat. And to think I almost didn’t come, what with not being invited until the last minute and all. It’s strange how things work out. One minute you’re lying to your date about being Cindy Crawford’s stylist and the next he’s putting you down for a front row seat at Milan Fashion Week’s second biggest show.

Good, they’re dimming the lights. Take your seats everybody. Yes, yes. That’s right. Sit yourselves all the way down. Keep conversations to a mumbling minimum, please. A little quieter even, if you can. Oh, how I hate when people talk through fashion shows.

Did I leave on the lights in my room? Good going, Michael. You spent all lunch tweeting about climate change and that recycling racoon and here you go wasting precious electricity the first chance you get. Well anyway, I’m sure the Bulgari Hotel Milan can afford it.

Where is everybody going? The show is minutes away and they’re going for a smoke? I wish I smoked. All the best things happen when you inhale toxins. That’s what moves culture forward. It’s where civilization’s greatest decisions are made. “Si, si, we’ll go to my place after this,” a smoker concludes. “Everyone here to my place! Francesco, call the taxi! Pronto!” Meanwhile, I wait alone at the dinner table, fiddling with my noodles, ignoring the other non-smoker because he’s boring, hoping this time everyone returns. They always forget the non-smokers. “Oh, that’s right, you don’t smoke,” they remark as if smoking is the default from which one opts out.

Is it just me, or does that pageboy haircut over there belong to Anna Wintour? How amusing it is to be in the front row. It’s just a pity they’ve gone with one of those long, meandering catwalks that bestow front row seats to everyone, not just us Anna Wintours and Cindy Crawford stylists of the world. Still, if that is Anna Wintour over there—and I think it truly is—that would imply I’m in the right section. The actual-front row. The front-of-the-front-row.

Of all the beverages they could have got to sponsor this event, did it have be San Pellegrino Chinotto? Why not a local prosecco or a svelte bottle of mineral water? That they are even serving refreshments can’t be a good sign, either. “Signora, would you be interested in filling your bladder up while you wait? It shan’t be much longer, only a few moments and a scant millennia after the dawn of the next geological era, we’ll begin our show.” In the name of Giorgio Armani, how I hate Chinotto.

Come on Michael. Weren’t you bragging just the other morning about having an Italian passport to a Swedish PR boy? You’re Italian. It’s Italian. Stop slouching and drink up! You’re in Milano! So what if it’s a bit bitter? Bitterness is half your branding! Now listen. Be reasonable. Must all soft drinks must be so sickeningly sweet? Fine, then. Alright. If you insist. But you’re going to have to cease declaring yourself Italian and start acknowledging what you really are: Italian-American, at best! And painfully so! Born. And. Raised. How do you like that?

sNever-mind me. I’m only having an identity crisis over in the front row. Maybe I should take that Chinotto. A sparkling concoction of Chinotto oranges mixed with herbs doesn’t sound so bad. If I pass out, at least it’ll be in the papers. And if I don’t make it, tell Anna Dello Russo I loved her.

It could be worse. At the Palozzi Privé show they double booked the entire front row. Even the Olsen Twins had to share a seat. They sat me on the lap of a Spanish bullfighter. You wouldn’t think a bullfighter would be into fashion, but sitting there on his lap, I found out what an enthusiastic freak for fashion he really is. He’s a huge fan. I’m glad I wore a skort.

This is a cult: whatever they say, we do, all in the name of la moda. “Arrive at the Palazzo Serbelloni at 7PM.” Si Maestro. “Wear black.” Lo farò. “Applaud at 8PM” Va bene. “BUY NOW!” Wait though, is there free shipping? People, don’t you get it? Wake up! Wake up! Oh, that reminds me. I need to set an alarm for tomorrow’s sneaker drop.

Should I just leave? If I do, the silent chuckle of the universe will tilt fate, prompting the show to begin as soon as I make my exit. They’ll lock the doors behind me and ask that I not be quite so hysterical on account of the event happening inside.

I should have never gotten into fashion in the first place. The moment my mother allowed me to pick out my own clothes, I should have said, No Mother, you style me. I desire nothing more than to be the muse to your motherly visions, honest. I’ve always admired what you’ve done with bonnets. Oh Mother, I insist. Yes I am a mere seven small years of age, but the power you wish to give to me will undoubtedly succeed to a most dreadful desire: sartorial self-expression as you’ve never seen it before. Temper this with the inextricable pull of being on trend and with certainty, your baby boy will become a front row monster by the time he’s 10.”

Now that I think about it, it’s probably the models’ faults. Why aren’t they ready? What else could they have to do today but get dressed and go? They’re overpaid, too! Actually, that’s harsh. It’s probably not all the models’ faults, just the famous ones. What exactly do you think you are doing Bella? Some of us have dinner reservations. Alright, I forgive you Bella. You’re just too pretty.

No matter how long I have to wait, at least I have a good seat. And I’m not at all bothered by that air vent blowing at me from overhead. So what if I have a dry forehead? I read they’re going all out: animatronics, holograms, even scent-curation. You know, I thought I smelled gorgonzola!

Did I overhear somewhere it would be over 200 looks? That’s far too many. How many looks did I wear this week? Two a day, at least. None at night. Should I have texted Juan Carlos back? I think he’s in a bullfight right now. I still owe him a Negroni. Better not. The food at La Libera was too delicious. I still need to see the Duomo before I leave. What kind of nut is in nutella? Oh right, hazelnut. How could I forget that? I am a hazel nut. Is that a good joke? I think so. Dinner at Il Solferino. Drinks at Bamboo Bar. DJ-ing the Versace after-party. Wait, what? Focus, Michael. Donatella. D-o-n-a-t-e-l-l-a. It’s a lot darker, isn’t? Are my eyes even open? You know, if I ever walk down the aisle … I want it to be to Beyoncé’s “Partition.” I’ll have cannoli waiting for me with the priest too. And the cannoli … was filled … with ricotta … cheese. Two types of ricotta cheese! Thank you padre … wait … is Milan where the Shroud of Turin is kept? I want to see that … no … the Shroud of Turn is in … Turin … yes … of course. Turino. What a lovely place … for a … shroud.

Oh my goodness! Did I just fall asleep? Did anybody notice? Of course, not. It’s pitch black! So silent too. Don’t tell me I slept through the show! Don’t tell me they’ve gone and locked me in! That would be just my luck to be trapped in an old Milanese villa. I couldn’t think of a worse place to be right now. “Sorry I missed my flight, I was locked in castle.” Who’s going to believe that? Didn’t anyone notice me? They might have jiggled me a bit on their way out, or is that too friendly for a city whose emblem is a snake eating a baby? There they go, click-clacking out of the room, eager for a cigarette, while I’m left behind a sack of clothes. Oh, if only I smoked.

Michael, stop it. You probably just rested your eyes for a moment. There’s still a good chance you have nothing to worry about. Right? Everyone might be right there, waiting in the dark with you. For heaven’s sake, don’t cause a scene so close to showtime. Just stay here, quietly, and wait.