Gigi Burris Reports on Class Trip to Milan with the CFDA

by Kristen Heinzinger
Gigi Burris

Who said class trips are just for kids? This year, for the first time a group of CFDA members jetted off to Milan to experience the CFDA/Milano Unica’s The Fabric Program. There, they gained first-hand experience working with Italian mills and Made in Italy techniques. Gigi Burris was amongst the lucky set, and just returned to the States this week. We asked the millinery pro to report in with the details.


Carlo et Camilla

Monday, April 4

9 a.m. (Central European Time): I had the pleasure of traveling with dear friends and fellow designers Ryan Roche and Samantha and Alex Orley from Orley. We arrive in Milano and my assistant Leila and I hit the ground running. 

Noon We depart in a car for a three-hour journey to Firenzuola to the Galeotti Piume factory.  

3:30 p.m. Winding through mountainous back roads we finally arrive at the beautiful building that holds the Galleotti Piume feather factory. Guido greets us and walks us through the incredible facility. They are handpicking feathers to be dyed in bubbling dye baths. Ostrich plumes are hand twisted into boas and hang from the ceiling. Women sit at tables individually placing each feather onto shoes. We are in feather heaven and it was a really magical place. 

8:30 p.m. We arrive back to Milano and have dinner at the trendy Carlo et Camilla resto. It is housed in a concrete warehouse-like space with communal tables and feels impossibly hip. We order artfully mixed cocktails with smoked whiskey and lemon curd.


Remmert Ribbon manufacturer

Tuesday, April 5

8 a.m. We all meet to journey up to the Remmert Ribbon manufacturer in San Maurizio Canavese.

9:30 a.m. Upon arriving at Remmert we get an expresso and pastries from their local pattiserie. Then we tour the facility of this 142-year-old ribbon house. We watch the incredible process as ribbons are woven from wooden looms. 

Noon We stop for a lunch of white wine and risotto

3 p.m. Crevacuore Italian Fabric Factory welcomes us to pick out some of their incredible material. They invite us to tour their archives which holds swatches of fabrics dating back to the 1940s from houses like Chanel, Balenciag, and more recently Prada and Louis Vuitoon. 

9  p.m. Alongside Italian press and friends we dine at Potafiori, a flower shop meets resto that also feels trendy and intimate. The owner sings for us while we dine on speck risotto and mango creme dessert.


Alex Orley singing

Wednesday, April 6

9 a.m. The morning begins at the Linea Mitiaro factory where we are kindly greeted with smiles and pride from those who do the beautiful work there. We witness as mother of pearl buttons are handmade, and watch the process from shell to finished product with awe. 

Noon We meet for lunch and accidentally order seven pizzas because of translation error! No one complained. At one point, Leila and Alex Orley break into song with the cook. 

3 p.m. We visit Colombo, a beautiful fabric mill that specializes in jacquards. We mull over which one to include in the upcoming collection. 

5 p.m. We journey on to the incredible YKK showroom and discover the new innovations in zippers. 

8:30 p.m. Prosecco in the garden of Innocenti Evasioni is followed by courses of incredible Italian-inspired innovation at this Michelin starred restaurant. The highlight was a turkey carpaccio and lemon anchovy pasta. 

Thursday, April 7

10 a.m. Leila and I set out for the Fondazione Prada. We first went to the Louis Bourgeois Haunted House, followed by the three permanent exhibitions. It feels so edited and incredibly inspiring.

Noon We have a snack and coffee at the Wes Anderson-designed Cafe Luca. 

3 p.m. We do some shopping and hit Excelsior first- a really over the top 4 floor shopping experience with an amazing curation of designers. 

4 p.m. We take a tour of every Gucci store looking for Princeton loafers in a size 37. This was sadly a failed mission. 

5 p.m. A visit to the legendary Corso Como store leaves me feeling so inspired. Carla Sozzani has an eye that is un paralled. 

6 p.m. A gelato moment sitting outside enjoying the beautiful weather and people watching. 

9 p.m. We dine at Casa Lucia and experience some of the best Prosciutto and pasta I have ever had. A generous amount of wine and bread was also involved.

11 p.m. We all head over to Club Plastico for a party thrown by Attila Agency and my good friend Natasha Slater. This party was “Animale” themed so naturally we wore leopard, and there was a leopard print red carpet. Only in Milan and a perfect way to end our very Italian week.


Friday, April 8

8 a.m. We head to the airport to realize our flight has been delayed two hours! This results in damage at the Gucci Duty Free shop.

2 p.m. Eastern Time: We finally land, with our Gucci buys and  lots of inspiration!

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