With London wrapping up on the 18th, the fashion pack head south to Milan where big names like Gucci, Salvatore Ferragamo and Dolce & Gabbana will strut their stuff for Milan Fashion Week (from September 19th to 25th).
For centuries, Italians have been at the forefront of fashion with icons like Elsa Schiaparelli (who ruffled feathers during the world wars) and more recently, the late Anna Piaggi whose eccentric style made her a front row mainstay right up until her death last year at age 81. The Milanese are not afraid to takes risks and are known for having bold styles that go beyond the realm of conventional fashion – just take a look at Anna Dello Russo to see what I mean!
Milan knows a thing or two about ‘La Bella Vita’.
If you can’t make it to fashion week, you can still take advantage of Italy’s stylish capital. Here are a few ways to get to the heart of this shopping centre:
Il Quadrilatero della Moda
Made up of four streets (Via della Spiga, Via Montenapoleone, Via Sant’ Andrea and Via A. Manzoni), Il Quadrilatero della Moda or “The Square of Fashion” is the quintessential shopping hub of Milan. Expect to find the head honchos of the Italian designer scene here like Fendi, Sergio Rossi, Valentino, Roberto Cavalli, Versace and Missoni tucked into the elegant historical buildings. The exquisite design of these stores will be the next best thing to seeing the show – some will even live stream their runways in-store.
Armani On Via Manzoni
One of the most impressive buildings on the block is the Armani complex at 31 Via Manzoni. Home to a massive Armani boutique as well as the Armani Hotel, Armani Restaurante, Armani Lounge and Armani Spa, you can’t get more Armani than this!
The Armani Hotel lets you experience Armani in every sense of the brand. The rich elegance of the boutique is translated into the hotel rooms along with the restaurant and spa facility providing excellence in design and aesthetic. It really is the ultimate Armani experience.
To book your stay or learn more, visit: milan.armanihotels.com
Located in the historical core of the city, Brera was once considered the bohemian centre because of the Palazzo Brera which houses the Brera Academy of Fine Arts as well as the Brera Art Gallery. Locals lovingly refer to this area as the ‘Milanese Montmartre’.
10 Corso Como
Probably the biggest shopping highlight in Brera is 10 Corso Como, a massive retail outlet – similar to a department store – that sells everything from designer handbags to original works of art. Established in 1990 by they stylish Carla Sozzani – she’s worked at Italian Elle, Vogue Italia and written fashion books on the likes of designers Pierre Cardin and Paco Rabanne – the complex started off as a simple gallery and bookstore that over the years morphed into an all-encompassing luxury department store with designer clothing, shoes, accessories, fragrances and beauty products. In recent years, the brand has expanded to include an online shop as well as chains in Seoul and Tokyo.
For more information on 10 Corso Como, visit: www.10corsocomo.com
In the south end of the city is Navigli, once a system of interconnected canals that would bring marble into the city to build the Duomo. Now, this area is a popular destination for those looking for a romantic getaway as the scenic canals serve as routes for evening boat tours past Leonardo Da Vinci’s sluices (gateways) and there’s a sense that you have left the chaos of the big city. As this was mainly a working class area, many workshops and traditional craftsmen can still be found in between the colourful cafes and boutiques.
Mercatone del Naviglio
On the last Sunday of each month, the Mercatone del Naviglio – Navigli Antiques Market – takes place from Viale Gorizia to the bridge on Via Valenza. Spanning nearly 2 kilometres, the market overlooks the oldest canal in Milan, the Naviglio Grande. Expect to find an array of goods like furniture, clocks, porcelain, silver, jewelry, dolls, games, collectibles, books, glasses, radios, modern antiques, canes, bronze, glass, comics and prints.
Once you’ve tired of the shopping, park yourself at a sidewalk café and admire the street style because like most fashionable things, the Italians do it best!