Milan is an immense international showcase, with the best of design, fashion and trends in any sector you can imagine. And it is really difficult to resist the constant temptations that come each step presents.
As well as the boutiques and the renowned Fashion streets in Milan, such as via Della Spiga and Corso Montenapoleone, the city has recently seen the appearance of a number of important flagship stores, entire buildings, if not entire sections of districts entirely “colonized” by the leading Fashion houses.
Armani, Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana first of all, as a reminder that Milan is above all ‘Made in Italy’, and then of course the elegant building Ralph Lauren store that takes up an entire palazzo.
The Dolce & Gabbana Uomo multistore in Corso Venezia even has a Sicilian barber that shaves customers by hand, while the elegance of the cleaning staff, with their retro uniforms and ostrich feather dusters, is second to none.
The leading flagship stores deserve a visit, even if you are hell-bent on not buying anything: these stores were created to transmit brand philosophy on a sensory level, thus visitors can literally hear, smell, touch, see and taste the brand.
Milan’s most exclusive shopping areas are the so-called Quadrilatero della Moda district, or the area between Via Montenapoleone, Via Della Spiga, Via Sant'Andrea and Via Borgospesso.
Fashion is presented in all its forms, from international designers to the most sophisticated and exclusive brand names, with a vast selection of footwear, accessories, shirts, and young fashion.
Corso Vittorio Emanuele with its large international chain stores and particularly competitive prices is certainly less acclaimed yet here shoppers will find the latest fashions, including Moschino or the recently opened Max Mara store, which encompasses an interesting store that sells the design objects of Rossana Orlandi.
The Brera district can also be prove interesting, thanks to the presence of a few small, up-and-coming designer boutiques such as the Luisa Beccaria and Nir Lagziel boutiques.
Corso Buenos Aires and Via Torino - less expensive with lots of street style and sports fashion – and the perfect place for making last-minute purchases, are the best for young people .
Vintage design aficionados will find accessories and fashion and even designer fashion, in the Porta Genova area, while the Fiera di Senigallia, a large antiques market, takes place on Naviglio Grande on the last Sunday of every month. Another fair, the Fair of Obei Obei takes place for the feast of St. Ambrose, the patron saint of Milan.
Yet another large antiques market is held every third Saturday of the month in the Brera area.
Milan is not merely Fashion, but also Design: B&B Italia, Poltrona Frau, Cassina, Kartell, Artemide and Alessi, historic Made in Italy brands, all boast at least one show room in Milan city centre.
The Porta Ticinese area, once a dormitory-district for Milanese factory workers, is now the evocative young designer district.
Here you will find several single-brand stores including American Apparel, the atelier and workshop specialising in accessories, gadgets and household items.
If you are looking for crafts, Milan is brimming with traditional workshops, some with centuries-old traditions: leather goods, picture frames, ceramic artists, goldsmiths and silversmiths.
The continuous search for aesthetic perfection, innovation, and an obsessive attention to detail can even be found in the flowers.
In Milan you will in fact fine true florist boutiques awash with brightly coloured blooms in artistic compositions that are a true delight.
From the historic boutique of Carlo Palma in via Alberto da Giussano, one of the most popular florists for special occasions since 1948, to cutting-edge flower stylists such as Paolo Lattuada in via Molino delle Armi, you are sure to find something to pamper either yourself or a special loved one.
One last piece of advice: the best time to visit Corso Como in the late afternoon. As well to the Corso Como 10 concept store and many other clothing and design shops, you will find one of Milan’s most vibrant areas where you can conclude a rewarding day’s shopping with a classic Milanese aperitif.