Milan Style

by Louis Bignami

In this stylish Northern Italian city some call the "New York" of Italy the only sin, besides poverty, seems "fatto la brutta figura." Cutting a poor figure does not’t make it where even the restaurant help sport Armani jackets. Spend a few minutes on the streets in Milan’s "Golden Triangle" and the number of people wearing Armani, Valentino, the late Jimmy Versace’s signature fashions support the claim that Milano, not Paris, is the most stylish city in Europe.

This isn’t new. Milan got a fashion jump start way back in the fifties with the International-Style Pirelli buildings. Memphis, Milan’s most notable design group started back in 1981 and their wildly colored and shaped designs come in everything form chairs to china.

But fashion makes Milan special; given "millinery" derives from Milan this isn’t a surprise. Today, fashion centers midway between the Piazza della Republica and the Piazza Duomo and La Scala, the traditional downtown. The so-called "Quadrilatero" between Via Monte Napolene Via sant’Andrea, Via della Spiga and Borgospesso sport a confusion of couturiers and a joust of jewelers. Ferre, Gigli, Doce &Gabbana – these did Madonna’s stage ‘underwear’ – Armani and Versace handle the clothing business and entertainment stars prefer. However, Italian leather may be a better bargain with Ferragamo, Gucci, Venta or Fratelli Rosseti

Style only starts with clothing and leather. Spots like G. Lorenzi run to oddments for those who may not have everything, but try. Fontana di Trebbia can even supply steamer trunks for the cruising soul who wants to bring everything. This goes on and on, so it’s fortunate that the areas just steps away from the Palazzo di Brera, the best introduction to Northern Italian painting and a fine way to start exploring Milan. Oddly enough, my wife’s walks through Milan always place the Quadrilatero early on in the day.