Meet the Rising Poet Who Stole the Show at Milan Fashion Week

Amanda Gorman Diary

Peep the needles in this dress as we get the perfect fit.
Peep the needles in this dress as we get the perfect fit.
Photo: Courtesy of Amanda Gorman
Shoes, glorious shoes.
Shoes, glorious shoes.
Photo: Courtesy of Amanda Gorman
Muchas gracias a Isabel Fiscowich, who helped style me for the event! Had to get flowers for this lovely woman.
Muchas gracias a Isabel Fiscowich, who helped style me for the event! Had to get flowers for this lovely woman.
Photo: Courtesy of Amanda Gorman
At Madrid’s airport, ready for Italy. xo
At Madrid’s airport, ready for Italy. xo
Photo: Courtesy of Amanda Gorman
Morning! Time to get glam for Prada’s Fall Show.
Morning! Time to get glam for Prada’s Fall Show.
Photo: Courtesy of Amanda Gorman
Got to meet the incredible Joel Edgarton after the show.
Got to meet the incredible Joel Edgarton after the show.
Photo: Courtesy of Amanda Gorman
At the after-party falling in love with this chocolate dessert.
At the after-party falling in love with this chocolate dessert.
Photo: Courtesy of Amanda Gorman
Beauty sleep!
Beauty sleep!
Photo: Courtesy of Amanda Gorman
New day, new look!
New day, new look!
Photo: Courtesy of Amanda Gorman
Throwing shade with the lovely Cara Delevingne at the launch of the new film program, “Soggettiva Nicolas Winding Refn,” at Fondazione Prada Cinema.
Throwing shade with the lovely Cara Delevingne at the launch of the new film program, “Soggettiva Nicolas Winding Refn,” at Fondazione Prada Cinema.
Photo: Courtesy of Amanda Gorman
Golden hour at Fondazione Prada.
Golden hour at Fondazione Prada.
Photo: Courtesy of Amanda Gorman
Ciao, Italia!
Ciao, Italia!
Photo: Courtesy of Amanda Gorman

If you thought that the front rows of Milan were populated exclusively by movie stars and influencers, think again. This season one of the most exciting new figures on the fashion scene was Amanda Gorman, the 20-year-old Harvard junior who serves as Youth Poet Laureate of the United States. A rising figure in the world of poetry, the Los Angeles native is the first to hold the prestigious title, which recognizes both her literary talent and her position as a community leader. Gorman, who has done everything from appear in ads for Helmut Lang to perform opposite Lin-Manuel Miranda and Morgan Freeman, is founder and executive director of One Pen, One Page, a nonprofit that provides free creative writing instruction for children in underserved communities. A multifaceted creative whose talents extend into a variety of disciplines, Gorman took a break from academics to enjoy a week at the collections courtesy of Prada. “There’s this idea of the poor, suffering poet, and I try to exhibit that the poet can be stylish, too,” shared Gorman via email from Madrid, where she’s studying abroad, “[and show] that in no way detracts from their poetry.”

For Gorman, the connection between fashion and poetry is implicit. Her outfits serve as a complementary form of expression that informs her creative output. “Fashion brings a distinct visual aesthetic to language. When I’m performing onstage, I’m not just thinking about my clothing, but what my Wakanda Forever T-shirt and yellow skirt is saying about my identity as a poet,” she says. “When I became U.S. Youth Poet Laureate, my mom and I actually talked a lot about my clothing because I act as my own stylist and makeup artist, navigating places as different as the Library of Congress and MTV. Through it all, I want to remain true to myself.” With inspiration drawn from icons such as Maya Angelou, the Duchess of Sussex, and Michelle Obama, Gorman gravitates towards looks that are “regal, youthful but mature” and influenced by her African heritage.

Her first Fashion Week offered a series of immersive, new experiences. Upon receiving the invitation from Carmine Spena, the brand’s public relations manager, Gorman recalls feeling momentary shock. “Poets aren’t well represented in the fashion world, let alone young female poets of color,” she says. “Prada is such an iconic fashion house I was honored to get the invite.” A longtime admirer of Miuccia Prada’s irreverent collections, Gorman jumped at the chance to see the work of designer she considers “transformative and visionary” in the flesh. “She pulls from deep, ever-changing wells of inspiration, the most recent being the anatomy of romance, which means the designs don’t just change, they metamorphosize [sic] entirely,” says Gorman. “She truly dances to the beat of her own drum. I’d love for my poetry to summon even a fraction of that liberty and creativity.”

Seated front row in a whimsical pastel dress and black Mary Janes, the poet fit right in with the fashion month regulars. The show, which moved her to tears, was thrilling, but so was the after-party where she connected with one of her small-screen style idols. Say Gorman: “My wardrobe is inspired by the Amazon show The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and at the Prada after-party I got to meet the lovely Rachel Brosnahan, who plays the title role. Wild!” More than a chance to come face-to-face with her favorites, Gorman’s fashion adventure provided the one thing every writer is looking for: inspiration. “Miuccia Prada is pure genius, and that motivates me to be a better poet,” she says.

Here, the rising star shares behind-the-scenes glimpses at her Milan trip and a special poem created for the occasion.

A Poet’s Prada
Seeking: Well-crafted, high-end
Fashion that transcend trends

Looking: To challenge fashion codes
Dance off previously carved roads
Unafraid to experiment, explore, explode

Demanding: ready-to-wear style in our hands
Giving us power, which makes it a power brand

Nothing at all is truer
Than fashion that dances
In the past, present, future

Style is statement, style is creative power revitalized
And never compromised. It is then in no way a surprise
That it’s also “uniforms for the slightly disenfranchised.”

This is no cloth on my arm
It’s the uniform of an armada
A poet’s sonata pulsing in Prada

La moda, quando è coraggiosa, è una lampada
La luce feroce trafigge l’anima come una spada
Ogni swish di tessuto è una melodia
E ogni creazione è la più pura poesia

Fashion is a lamp only when it is unafraid
Its fierce light pierces the soul like a blade
Every swish of fabric is a melody
And every creation is purest poetry

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