Milan is home to the most famous designer brands in the world. One of its most important districts is known as the “Quadrilatero della moda” (The Fashion Quad). Together with Paris, the city hosts the most important, eagerly awaited and celebrated fashion shows on the planet. In Milan, seeing gazelle-limbed models strolling down the street, “book” in hand, is a totally commonplace occurrence. Every area of Milanese life speaks of fashion; it is so deeply embedded in its DNA that you can start your day with brunch at Trussardi, continue with a massage at Bulgari or Moschino, decide whether to root for Armani on the basketball court or enjoy an exhibition at Fondazione Prada, dine at Dolce & Gabbana and end the evening dancing the night away at Just Cavalli. Fashion is everywhere.
Giorgio Armani the founding father
King Giorgio deserves a separate chapter on account of having transformed his space in via Manzoni, 31 (www.armani-viamanzoni31.it) into a real superstore of luxury. He owns an entire building, extending over 8 thousand square metres on eight floors, which houses the world according to Armani: from flowers to books, from candies to homeware. Armani also owns a restaurant, the ultra-sophisticated Japanese Armani/Nobu venue and a discotheque bearing the eloquent name of Armani/Privé, obviously spilling over with VIPs and supermodels. And, if this were not enough! For the past six years, the designer has sponsored Milan’s historic basket ball team which is now called Armani Jeans Olimpia Milano (www.olimpiamilano.com). If you’re interested in seeing the team play, its home is at the Palalido.
If you feel like treating yourself to a rejuvenating body and mind experience with a beauty treatment, then Milan is the place to be. It offers a number of absolutely fantastic glam spas, among which, worth particular note are Bulgari Resort, set within the Bulgari hotel in the heart of Brera, the Culti Spa at Maison Moschino (p. 60), also part of a theme hotel entirely given over to design.
Feeding on fashion
When it comes to restaurants, cafés and dinner clubs, you will be totally spoilt for choice. In addition to the aforementioned Armani/Nobu, you can choose Trussardi, also the owner of an entire palazzo in piazza della Scala hosting the eponymous restaurant and the Café Trussardi, renowned for its aperitivo. Or, then again, there’s Gold, “the first concept restaurant by Dolce & Gabbana”, dedicated to the pleasure of the senses (www. dolcegabbana.it/gold). Conversely, you could opt to dine and dance at Just Cavalli Hollywood, a dinner club and a world-class venue for VIP watching.
Design in all senses
Although Milan’s creative reputation is usually linked to fashion, design also features big on the Milanese scene. Almost all the most important designers have signed a home collection, every example of which can be found in Milan and many of which are gathered in the “design supermarket” of La Rinascente: from Versace with its interior design to Missoni renowed for its wonderful carpets right up to Valentino who signs priceless flatware and Etro who plays with colours.
Handing down the tradition of beauty
Modern patrons of the arts, many designers support and sponsor young emerging talents and cultural initiatives of all types. One in particular is the Fondazione Prada which, since 1993, has regularly hosted important contemporary art exhibitions.