Milan is one of the world's four historic fashion capitals, alongside London, New York, and Paris. Photographer Julie Adams and Italian model and fashion blogger Chiara Nasti share their unique perspectives on the city's fashion influence. Pssst! Interested in Milan Fashion Week? Read on for more.
An inspiring city for fashion
"I think Italian culture is what draws people from all over the world to fall in love with Italy as a country," explains Julie. "I don’t think there is any country on earth that people universally feel so romantic about... Milan is the fashion capital of Italy, so if you are into fashion or design then you will find inspiration on every corner."
As a photographer, Julie finds early morning the most magical time of day. "I love getting up early with my camera and walking the streets watching all the locals on their way to work... I feel that time of the day is reserved for the Milanese and you get such a feel for the heart of the city. The more you get to know Milan, the more there is to discover," she says. The Radisson Blu Hotel, Milan is ideally located in the center of the city, so you'll be able to stumble upon the markets, canals and secret courtyards as soon as you step out of the hotel.
Milan Fashion Week
Chiara Nasti describes Milan Fashion Week as "for sure the best event in Italy in matter of fashion, absolutely... [it has] an impact on the entire fashion system." Julie agrees, noting that "Milan always seems to deliver glamour...brands such as Versace and Gucci still have that wow factor that the Italians are so renowned for." One thing that makes Milan Fashion Week particularly special is the huge roster of Italian designer labels that show up to show off their most creative pieces. Expect to see the following big names: Fendi, Versace, Gucci, Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, Roberto Cavalli, and Ferragamo… and the list goes on! Keep your eyes peeled for their extravagant shows at this year's event. Most of the shows and events are industry-exclusive (reserved for buyers and press interested in covering the events), but even if you can’t get into the official shows, there are after parties and the city is truly buzzing during the event week. So, why not head to Milan for a city trip? Check out the schedule to learn which events are open to the public.
Fashion is as good an excuse as any for a weekend trip! Many iconic locations throughout the city are transformed during the event, including the Royal Palace (Palazzo Reale) and The Palazzo Serbelloni. So take the opportunity to enjoy the sights from a whole new angle as the city becomes even more of a fashion lover's dream destination during this special week. You can also watch the fashion shows live online from the comfort of your hotel room. Check out the complete calendar of the fashion shows and register for the live viewing on the Milan Fashion Week website.
Best boutiques in Milan
As a model and fashion blogger, Chiara is an expert authority on Milan's best boutiques, and she's unlikely to tire of scouting out hidden gems any time soon. She says, "I love shopping in Milan, it makes me always so satisfied." Asked for recommendations, she suggests: "Tearose, a very nice shop which sells high fashion and flowers; Antonia, one of my favorites for accessories and shoes; Frav, one of the best for street wear... and Antonioli, which is a temple of fashion." The Milanese are spoiled for choice when it comes to fashion: "We have so many favorite Italian designers! We are totally in love with Alessandro Dell'Acqua's No. 21... In regards to bags, luxurious leather goods company Valextra makes stunning pieces of the finest quality, which last a lifetime.", adds Julie.
The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is a spot you really can't miss. It's the world's oldest active shopping mall. Housed within a four-story double arcade in central Milan, the Galleria is named after Victor Emmanuel II, the first king of the Kingdom of Italy...and the architecture is simply stunning.
The second most vibrant spot for shopping in Milan is Corso Buenos Aires. It is said to be one of the longest shopping street in Europe. Here you find everything you desire, from stylish Made in Italy shoes and handbags, to international high-street brands outfits. You can even enjoy a tasty artisan gelato from Grom on the way.
For the luxury fashionistas from around the world the most attractive street is Via Monte Napoleone. It is the golden part of Milan and is home to many big designer brands, from Gucci to Prada to Valentino. Even if the price tags are larger than your budget, you can still spend many happy hours admiring the window displays pouring your heart out.
Save up in outlets
Travelling can make your budget a bit tight, but shopping is still not restricted. If you have a day or two to browse in the outlet malls, then the outlet centers are perfect place for you. The main factory outlet villages, located not that far from the city, are the tourists favorite place to cash out on the beautiful things, especially when you are offered 70% discount. One of such most famous centers is the Serravalle Outlet. This largest Designer outlet in Europe is only about an hour drive from the city. The setting is magical and seems like you are shopping in wonderland. Another great option is the Style outlets center in Vicolungo, only 50 min away from Milan. Here entertainment and relaxation coexist – it not only houses more than 150 designer stores, but also offers gourmet experiences, art exhibitions and special events to make you journey more memorable.