London vs Milan

Designer Monisha Jaising roots for the English capital while Sanchita Ajjampur makes a case for the chic Italian city...

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London vs Milan


The inventor of the kurti, designer Monisha Jaising spent five years of her formative years in London where the infectious energy of the city, its always-inspiring street style and dynamic design scene shaped her up as an individual and also a major design force to reckon with. No wonder she shot two of her major campaigns in the picturesque locales of Notting Hill and Soho. The former revolved around the carefree, world bride, the latter captured London’s Soho charm. On the other hand, style maven Sanchita Ajjampur, (who was bestowed upon the highest honour of Italy — the Ordine della Stella d’Italia or The Order of the Star of Italy — by the Italian President Sergio Mattarella last year), seems to be moved by the Milanese craftsmanship and attention to details. After Hrs gets the two designers to argue as to which of these fashion cities is the fashion capital and why...  

London - Monisha Jaising

Every fashion capital has its own unique style. The different characteristics get them their unique flavour and peculiar style. London, I feel, is an incredibly exciting place to be when it comes to fashion. Everything happens here. Milan may be technically excellent in design, but only in London do they live and breathe it. 

Creativity is built into the DNA of Londoners and it spreads across the country. Living in the city for five years has been a very essential part of my design career. Every day spent in London amidst its eclectic museums like V&A museum, Tate Gallery and National gallery and admiring its architecture have been my daily source of inspiration.

Some of the most progressive style movements can be credited to British designers. From Vivienne Westwood to Stella McCartney, the city has long been home to some of the most coveted fashion stars. Incredible designers like Alexander McQueen, Temperley, Julien MacDonalds, David Koma and others with their diverse inhabitants, have nurtured an adventurous spirit that has put London on the global style map.

Street style here has a strong emphasis on personal style and is characterised by bold, experimental looks. Moreover, it’s the effortless style with quirky concepts and unique combinations that gravitate me towards it. It’s the city’s vibe, vivid colours, architectural backdrops and the entire mood that are somehow parallel to my aesthetics. London favours innovation whereas Milan has a deep tradition of craftsmanship. I appreciate the fact that London is welcoming new creative designers to experiment with their collections. This ascertains the city’s growing influence as a fashion capital across the globe.

Sanchita Ajjampur

Milan is a modern metropolis, although industrial and entrepreneurial, the city melds together cultural and artistic influences, representing the ‘alternative’ side of Italy, embodying all that is chic and sophisticated. Milan has played a huge part in my life, not just professionally, but also on a personal level. I have lived in and around Milan for many years, my daughters were born here and it is the place where my career began working with Romeo Gigli, back then one of the biggest names in the industry. 

Each of the ‘big four’ fashion capitals has its own distinctive flavour but Milan fashion week has created so many iconic moments — think back of the ‘supers’ walking for Versace singing to George Michael’s Freedom, Tom Ford reviving Gucci to the most desired and talked-about labels of the mid-90s and let’s not forget — the inimitable Mrs Prada — arguably one of the most influential designers of all times. 

In a country renowned as the pinnacle in footwear and leather goods, it’s no surprise that the Milanese are, generally speaking, impeccably dressed and know how to work their accessories. As we all know, shoes can make or break an outfit and this is also the philosophy for my collections. I start ‘dressing’ the feet, ready-to-wear evolves from that. 

Working in Italy for many years has given me insights and taught me the importance of consistency, tenacity and attention to detail and making things visual yet with compromising substance. I love Milan for its contagious creativity and interaction with other designers and the industry. I have also learned to accept that ideas are not immune to criticism, derision or even contempt to enable flow of freedom of thought and that failing at times stimulates to be innovative. 

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