Style | Diary of a Somebody

Neil Barrett

Tension is building as the designer prepares for the Milan shows

Neil Barrett

January 13 2012
Neil Barrett

Day: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

I’m up like a lightning bolt at 8am in a slight panic; only three and a half days until the AW12 menswear show and we are still waiting for the majority of samples to be delivered. I can feel myself getting quite stressed.

I crawl from bed to hunt for some headache pills; I knew I shouldn’t have drunk so much Chianti last night, although looking back it was worth it – what a great night; still thinking of the delicious burrata from last night, with fresh basil, at U Barba. I must go back there for a quieter, proper dinner once things have become slightly calmer.

I’m in the studio at 9.15am, and review what we can expect from the factory today. Fortunately 90 per cent of the collection is produced in Italy though our factory, but ironically the 10 per cent of knitwear needed for the collection is being blocked in customs. I’m trying to find a positive angle in all this – not sure if that’s possible.

At 10.30 – thank God – the new bag collection arrives. I love the new backpack, and the colour-blocked bags are just what I hoped they would be: gorgeous shades of grey, green and black. Am feeling lighter and slightly calmer, having seen that the leather accessories have worked out perfectly.

As well as planning the show, we always have to prepare for sales – for the craftily designed panels on the jackets, we need to find a solution to getting as many pieces cut from the fabric as possible to ensure that we don’t waste anything. With the Chianti still clouding my thoughts slightly, I momentarily get that feeling of being back at school and faced with an excruciatingly hard maths problem. Maybe I should leave the design team and commercial department to it…

As usual, we sit down for a team lunch at around 1.30pm of delicious plate of trofie al pesto fresco (it smells incredible, and the deep green shade alone is making my mouth water), with some freshly baked ciabatta and salty cured meats – just what I need and, I am sure, the whole team does too. We need to keep our energy up, I realise, as talk turns to how late we’ll be working until the night before the show. My bet’s on the possibility of working through the night. Well, we all want it to be perfect, and it’s only one night without sleep, I suppose.

We sail through more and more fittings throughout the day, and the board of models is starting to look great. Robbie and I talk through possibilities for opening and closing the show; you always want it to make a maximum impact on the press and critics.

The looks board, meanwhile, is also really coming along, and it’s taken my mind off the embargoed soft wools in customs that we are yet to receive.

How is it dinner time already? Not that I’m complaining; whoever thought to order pizza from the local specialist is a genius. Happy smiles all round as the team catches up while tucking into artichoke and olive pizza with truffle oil.

After talking shop for countless hours and looking back to the board and back to the rail, it’s time home time and bed!

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