Countless people are convinced that Italy rises above all the other fashion superpowers due to the Italian way of thinking. The implication is that in Italy both women and men take fashion seriously. It’s a commonplace, but fashion can kill – especially when you think of stiletto heels.
Milan Fashion Week… via FTV
In connection with footwear, the Italian woman is perfect from the top of her head to the tip of her shoes. Hence, if you aim to travel to Milan think hard about what you pack in your suitcase, since pretty accessories in this city are not enough, even for mere survival. A unique attitude is inseparable from quality clothing in Italy. Rumour in rather high circles has it that Allegra Versace, the omnipotent heiress of the fashion empire, learnt the alphabet of fashion before the regular ABC … “Armani, Barocco, Byblos, Cavalli, Dolce, Exté, Fendi, Gucci, Missoni, Prada, Trussardi, Valentino, Versace”. Easy and rhythmic, or perhaps ‘easy peasy’, like the sound of shoe heels hitting the streets of Milan.
Shopping in luxury
The mission – what else could we call a shopping trip to Milan? – should start in the Quadrilatero, the city’s famous fashion quarter. Luxury is the motto. Glittering diamonds, jewellery which has been dreamt up and sculpted in gold by the most prominent masters, fine fabrics and pretty accessories, including footwear, which can justifiably be called works of art. Via Montenapoleone is the most famous street in the Quadrilatero. The boutiques and stores of Gucci, Versace, Ferragamo, Prada and Valentino can all be found here. The street is crossed by Via Sant’Andrea, where the might of Italian fashion can be compared with French legends, since here a Chanel boutique allures fashionistas. If you are content with window-shopping, Via della Spiga should not be missed. After all, the windows of D&G, Krizia, Bvlgari and Chopard offer nothing short of a museum visit. Via Manzoni houses a real designer’s universe, the Spazio Armani. Besides the salon we can also visit the Armani Casa, selling furniture and objects for the home, and if you want to relax with a taste of creamy cappuccino there is nothing better than the Emporio Armani Café.
Weekdays alla Italiano
If you can do with less luxury, make your way to the Corso Vittorio Emanuele, the street of sophisticated style – this is where the Max Mara and Pollini boutiques are, but on the way to Dome Square stores serving a wider public can also be found. The Corso Buenos Aires lays claim to being Europe’s longest street, full of irresistible stores from beginning to end. Lovers of everyday elegance can pick and choose at leisure from the selections of Benetton, Sisley or S.Olive. Via Torino and Corso di Porta Ticinese emphasise the trend for young fashionistas, so it’s no surprise to find these streets filled with students and teenagers. The nearby Navigli is the citadel of vintage fanatics, Piazza XXIV Maggio, its centre, offering alternatives for those who want to stand out in the crowd – crazy accessories, second-hand clothes shops and eccentric home design stores. Everything is here which is needed for emphasis – Italian fashion may be classic, but we can indulge in anything.
Antique and modern
The mission simply cannot be complete without a visit to Milan’s noted markets. The Fiera di Senigallia has grown into a real institution. Every Saturday morning the Viale d’Annunzio fills with life, colours and scents, and the whole neighbourhood echoes with the characteristic cries of flea markets. This one is a real cultural melting pot, since merchandise from India, South America and Africa can be found here, alongside new and used clothing, books, comics and rare records sold by local traders. While marvelling at the variety of goods you are followed by Senegalese musicians creating a perfect harmony. The Mercatone del Naviglio Grande is held on the last Sunday of each month in the area of the Alzaia Naviglio Grande. The market features antiquities and bric-a-brac of four hundred antique dealers, and you can also purchase magnificent pieces of jewellery –which you are not likely to encounter adorning anyone else!
In the wake of disappearing colours
So what’s the latest fashion? “Everything is about detail,” asserted Roberto Cavalli at his latest show. “Today all fashion has to do is transfer traditional clothing into the everyday and cleverly fuse the genuine with the fake – be it jewellery, leather or textile. Dare to experiment and forget grey.” The new collections of some fashion houses have shown almost shockingly bold reds and blues, and the conquest of huge, colourful shopping bags on the catwalk seems to continue. The message of the new season is – today’s individual is searching for the garment that is her perfect fit in every sense. The solution, according to the greatest gurus, is returning from the 1960s: perfectly tailored suits with slender lines, dresses of velvet and taffeta, convincing the enthralled audience that there is not a single item they would not like to wear – immediately. That’s the feeling which can only be described as the Milanese miracle.
This entry was published originally in the Hungarian fashion and trend magazine, Fashion Street.