While London, Paris and New York are year-round hubs of tourist activity, the same can’t be said for the world’s fourth fashion capital, Milano. Sure, it has its fair share of visitors, but Italy’s second-largest city will never know the same overwhelming bustle as Oxford Circus on a Saturday afternoon.
Despite housing architecture as beautiful as Paris, such as the historic Duomo church, there’s something about Milan that’s just a little too… grey. Except, that is, during one week in February and another in September. Fashion Week sees the great and colourful of Milan’s society come out to play alongside the world’s celebrities, fashion editors and creative geniuses. It really is a sight to behold.
The shows themselves can take place anywhere from abandoned warehouses to the beautiful Arco della Pace, a breath-taking archway in Parco Sempione. Fashion’s elite are delivered to the front row in their blacked-out Mercedes’ and it isn’t unusual to see the designer in question running into the venue – fashionably late, of course.
After a busy day of shows and appointments, Bice is the restaurant of choice for many of the British
fash pack. Serving traditional Italian cuisine in a cosy setting, this seventy-year-old restaurant manages to be upscale and comforting at the same time, and we’d highly recommend the risotto.
Alternatively, if you’re after something a little more ostentatious, Just Cavalli Hollywood is just that. Owned by Roberto Cavalli himself, you’ll need a reservation to get past the velvet ropes and down the fairy-lit garden path, to this impressive glass building. Decorated in Cavalli’s signature leopard print and serving his own brand vodka, nothing is done by halves here, least of all the mind-blowing cocktails. With a nightclub upstairs, you could easily find yourself spending an entire evening in the decadent surroundings – providing someone else is picking up the bill!
The jewel in Milan’s on-trend crown is Hotel Principe di Savoia. Part of the Dorchester Collection, this five star hotel is the place to see and be seen during Fashion Week, for celebrities and industry insiders alike. Even if you’re not fortunate enough to be staying at the hotel, an evening at the Principe Bar is a must – you’ll spot enough celebrities to distract you from the overpriced cocktails, with Lindsay Lohan and Paloma Faith amongst the hotel’s famous fans.
Doing Milan in style can be an expensive business, but it’s more than worth it for a one-off treat, or
a special occasion. Just make sure you’re preened to perfection and keep your eyes peeled; the paparazzi are never far away…