LUXOS's Ashleigh Searle sat down with Natasha Slater to discuss all things life, living and leisure.
Natasha, what’s your story? How did you end up in Milan?
‘I started coming to Milan when I was a child, my mother is Italian and so the city became a second home to me when my grandparents moved back here when I was young. In my 20s I always DJ’d in London and I had a radio show, which exposed me to all kinds of people, including Alan McGee who was running Death Disco.’
‘When I moved to Italy, I wanted to run a similar kind of night to Death Disco in Milan and bring the mainstream nightlife scene here into the 21st century.’ The night, which eventually became ‘Punks wear Prada’, was a huge success for Slater, packing out its venue on the first night and bringing Milan’s bright young things together for the next ten years.
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How do you think you changed the face of nightlife here?
‘I think for many years Milan has been very conformist and conservative. I called the night ‘Punks wear Prada’ because Milan is the epithet of fashion and Prada is that first brand you think of when you think of Italian style. However, what I saw when I moved here was that deep down we’re all punks: everyone is scavenging to be something they’re not, so much of Milan is about the veneer; the perfect way dress and behave, but there was so much eclecticism underneath.’ After the opening night more and more of Milan’s bohemian population started coming, the night became a place where you could celebrate sexuality, eccentricity and individuality all in one place.
You describe yourself today as a Creative Director, what do you do?
‘I still love to work with creative and inspiring people. I like to work with people below the radar, those are the interesting ones. Exclusion creates division and what I am about is all about creating connectivity through my events. When you come one of my events, everyone there is made to feel special and included. I work regularly with the newly-opened Hotel Vu in Milan, as well as fashion and lifestyle brands such as Barry’ Bootcamp, which just opened this summer here. My philosophy in life has always been to never take no for an answer. The greatest thing about being a foreigner in a foreign city is that you have no boundaries and that’s allowed me to succeed.’
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How would you describe your lifestyle in Milan?
Milan has allowed me to have the kind of lifestyle I want, through my events I’ve created at spaces in Milan where people can come and be themselves, talk about their sexuality and make friends. I’m very lucky to have a lot of very good friends here and I’m not a cliquey person so I interact with everyone. When I’m not working I like to go for dinner, my favourite places are Langosteria Milano and Giacomo Restaurant or the lovely small, trattorias in Via Tortona near my office.
I’m restructuring my company at the moment and moving into the next level, away from nightlife and focusing on lifestyle. I’ve been exploring spirituality a lot and so peace of mind is really important to me, and this includes the brands I’m working with. For example Barry’s Bootcamp is integrating lifestyle and fitness into our daily lives. I’m also working with designer August Getty and sustainable denim brand Haikure. I’m excited to create projects with artists and musicians, there’s still an element of glamour but it’s celebrating the dream that fashion and events are inclusive.
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How do you think Milan and Italy has changed in recent years?
I think Milan today has completely changed from the Milan I moved into. I think there’s people building businesses and this is changing the mindset in the city. Even in terms of things like lifestyle, people are slowly adapting to accepting new rules here and being more trendsetter and less follower.
Italians are a great inclusive people, they want to be international and learn about everyone. In Milan you can have a high quality of life for relatively little, wherever you eat or shop, the quality is always clear, living well is for everyone, rich or poor.
To keep up with Natasha you can visit her website here.
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