Making the Most of Milan’s Fashion
In 2009, Milan was nominated by the Global Language Monitor as ‘Fashion Capital of the World’ and, having been a bastion of innovative fashion since the Renaissance, it’s easy to see why. In the 16th century, Milan’s fashion industry was so widely-recognized that it led to the old English word ‘Millaner’, a term given to jewellery, cloth, and importantly hats. It later evolved into the word ‘Millinery’, meaning a maker or seller of hats. With the importance of fashion outlets and events in Milan centre, hotels are often no more than a short journey away from the latest designs and bargains.
The most famous event associated with modern fashion in Milan is undoubtedly Milan Fashion Week. It is held bi-annually, with a spring/summer event and an autumn/winter event. Established in 1958 as part of the international ‘Big Four’ fashion weeks, the event lets fashion houses around the world know what’s ‘in’ and what’s ‘out’ for the season. After the previous event’s reduced duration led to it being dubbed a ‘fashion weekend’ in 2010, Milan has set the stage for a spectacular return to form in September 2010, with the ‘week’ once again becoming a full seven days, and moving into the 16th-century Palazzo de Giureconsulti. It’ll be within easy reach of airports and Milan centre hotels for the international audience the show attracts.
A few tips can be useful for first-time visitors; generally on Sunday the shops close, even during Milan’s famed sales season, but on particular days it’s possible to find shops open until later at night. Saturday, as usual, is the most crowded day of the week for shopping, in particular during the afternoons. While you’re on holiday, try going early on a weekday to make the most of a swift shopping trip to Milan centre. ‘Hotel rests’ in between expeditions to some of the flagship shops might be a welcome break! For mid-price fashion, Corso Buenos Aries is recommended; one of the biggest shopping streets in Milan, it features over 350 shops amidst the late 18th-century architecture. And if you time your trip carefully, you might be able to experience the street market set up on Via Brera on the third Saturday of every month, with plenty of bargains on all kinds of clothing, toys, and even antiques.
The Quadrangle of Fashion
Milan’s “Quadrangle of Fashion”, as it’s sometimes called, is a district housing many of the designer boutiques and upmarket jewellery shops between Via Montenapoleone, Via Andrea, Via Gesu, Via Borgospesso, Via della Spiga, and Corso Venezia. Most of the major Italian fashion brands are headquartered in the city; if you recognize the names Gucci, or Dolce and Gabbana, a trip to Milan will be right up your fashion-boutique-lined avenue.
Sights to see
While shopping, or afterwards, you can take the opportunity to visit many important cultural sites located close by in Milan centre; hotels are often just a moment away to set down the shopping bags, and then you will be free to enjoy some of the city’s sights. Duomo Cathedral, the Museum Bagatti Valsecchi, and the Palazzo Reale are all within walking distance of the “Quadrangle of Fashion”; and the ‘Teatro alla Scala’, or ‘La Scala’ theatre, is the perfect place to show off all your newly purchased outfits.