Having an airline lose your luggage is a total bummer. But it might be uniquely devastating if you’re a professional stylist—and even worse, somehow, if it happens during fashion week. That’s what happened to Julie Ragolia, the New York-based stylist to high-wattage stars like LaKeith Stanfield. She flew to Milan to style Zegna’s menswear show with plans to head to Paris afterward the gig wrapped. She was looking forward to the usual fashion week fare: connecting with out-of-town friends, seeing some runway shows, and participating in perhaps the week’s most fun pastime—dressing to the nines. But when she got off her plane in Italy, she had a feeling that her sartorial plans were about to be thrown for a loop.
“You know how at the baggage claim there is sometimes that lone bag just going around and around the belt?” she asks. That’s when she realized that all the luggage had come and gone, and hers was nowhere to be seen. “I felt in my gut that it might take a while to be resolved, though I never imagined it would be the entirety of fashion week.”
And so, armed with only the clothes on her back—a vintage blazer, Adidas sweatpants, and an Iron Maiden T-shirt—Ragolia set off on a sort of experimental fashion week. Shortly after deciding to casually share her predicament on her Instagram story, street-style photographer and designer Tommy Ton messaged her to say that he was stuffing his backpack with extra clothes. The teams at Loewe and Officine Générale jumped in to help out; Designer Spencer Phipps put together an entire duffle bag of clothes he thought would fit. Even Zegna’s artistic director Alessandro Sartori offered to rush pieces from Milan to Paris. While most of us lose our luggage and have to run to the nearest Walmart to pick up essentials, Ragolia’s years in the industry meant friends in high places banded together to ensure she had clothes to wear—and highly stylish ones at that.
If you’re familiar with Ragolia’s talent and her own personal style, you won’t be surprised to learn that her last-minute looks still landed all over the fashion-obsessed corners of the Internet. She cobbled together an outfit from what she wore on her flight with some newly acquired Loewe, and the result was a fit so good it ended up in GQ’s own round-up of street style. “Not bad for a gal with no luggage,” she captioned the image. Later in the week, she’d get snapped in a wonderfully slouchy look from Officine Générale; then, another with leather Loewe trousers, a coat and cozy knit from Phipps’ eponymous label.
Ragolia took the whole fiasco in stride. She posted screenshots of texts with her friends and jokingly prodded Air France about the location of her missing luggage. (The situation became a micro-meme of the week.) “It’s funny, because I was raised to never let people know my business and to make do from my own resources,” she says. “Losing my luggage during fashion week became the opposite of that. A post that left me initially feeling vulnerable became a signal for support.” She was mostly disappointed because she couldn’t wear pieces from a recent discovery—Zn Ali, a small label out of Pakistan. (Another concern: her suitcase had some unique—and rather pricey—pieces from the Row and Zegna, too.)
To see high-profile fashion folks and big-time brands alike come together to help out a colleague was a sight to see. The fashion industry has long had a reputation for being cold and cutthroat, and Ragoli’s experience countered that image in spades. “I never imagined that [this] would become an opportunity to highlight a massive show of friendship and support,” she says. “I’m so grateful to everyone who cared about my well-being and who made me laugh until my cheeks hurt.” While most of us won’t get the thrill of luxury fashion houses and menswear icons rushing to our side when we lose our luggage, it was entertaining to watch play out in real time. And the cherry on top is the feel-good story comes complete with a happy ending: it took until after Paris Fashion Week had wrapped, but Ragolia’s luggage finally made its way back to her hotel in Paris. Dramatic, sure—but what is fashion week without a splash of drama?