There are only two modes for a journalist at Fashion Week: waiting for a show to start or sprinting to one before it does. But there are those rare moments that can make you forget time is of the essence. Like seeing flamingos. I was clip-clapping down Via Cappuccini in Milan on the way to Dolce & Gabbana when I happened to look up and there they were, splashing around behind the gates of a private residence. “That’s just one of those typical moments in Milan when you are blown away by extreme beauty,” says fashion journalist and vintage aficionado J.J. Martin. We have met at the bar in Paris’s Park Hyatt to chat about her new website, La DoubleJ, as well as her style, regularly documented for her deft use of colour and texture that’s more striking than attention-seeking. For the moment, talk has turned to Milan, her home of 14 years.
Originally from Los Angeles, she was in New York when she met an Italian man at a party and fell in love. “He was just visiting. We had this long-distance relationship and I was working at Calvin Klein; everybody wearing black, I never saw Calvin ever – well, once – and I thought, ‘This is misery.’ And so this guy was like, ‘Do you want to move to Italy?’ and I said, ‘OK.’
“For the first six months I couldn’t find a job; nobody had ever heard of marketing. So instead I took Italian lessons for six hours a day until I could speak.” While she nailed the language fast, it took her longer to understand the city. “For five years I hated it – nobody complained more than me – and for the exact same reason everyone who goes to Milan doesn’t understand it. It’s not a city that presents itself immediately to you.” Eventually, she became an editor-at-large for Wallpaper* and a contributor for WSJ. Magazine, meeting people who would unlock the city’s secrets for her. “I discovered everything happens behind closed doors and most Milanese leave the city on weekends. A two-hour drive to Portofino and St Moritz, it’s
Highlighting a printed coat with basic black
Mixing colours and prints at Milan Fashion Week