Milan | Retail

Vibrant and innovative, Italy’s design capital is retail heaven. Packed with the flagships of international labels, stunning new concept spaces and entire districts of design and/or vintage chic. You could easily miss one of the current highlights, but not if your Milan experience takes the form of a walking tour masterfully guided by our resident cool hunter, uniquely qualified to pick out those leading-edge boutiques and hybrid spaces which – never mind the goods on sale –  are revolutionizing the whole retail model.

We suggest starting out in Brera, the city’s stylish heart, and more precisely in Piazza del Carmine now dominated by the new Marc Jacobs store. Brazenly chromatic, it carries the whole amazing range of clothing-bags-shoes-and-accessories for the delight of global fashionistas, who invariably meet up afterwards at the Café, part of the concept that spills out onto the square.

JV Store, a Milan exclusive in the Porta Venezia quarter, is a mandatory stopover for any design lover. Three storeys brilliantly created by the Janelli brothers themselves for Janelli & Volpi, brimming not only with their trademark wallpapers (printed to your own design too), wall-coverings and furnishing fabrics but also with extraordinary objects and accessories by internationally acclaimed designers.

And we couldn’t fail to show you Danese in Porta Romana, the legendary international design showroom frequented by the likes of Bruno Munari, Yves Behar and Enzo Mari over the years. It’s still as dynamic and innovative as ever, and we can take you behind the scenes.

Unmissable in Tortona-town is Sardinian designer Antonio Marras’ concept store. Accessed from a leafy yard in Via Cola di Rienzo, it’s housed in a stunning ex-industrial space all kitted out in perfect shabby chic. Alongside Marras’ latest extravagant collections are a tower of books, sundry artworks and comfy corners where you can linger over a coffee and some Sardinian sweetmeats from the bar.

No serious retail tour could pass over the exclusive space created by Rossana Orlandi, practically a cult figure in Milanese art and design circles. On two floors and structured around a typical leafy courtyard in the Magenta neighbourhood in the city centre, it is both gallery and store, and showcases superior vintage furnishings along with original contemporary art and design from young creatives the world over.

And last stop of your insider shopper’s experience could well be vintage clothing paradise Cavalli e Nastri, with its incredible and unique collection of haute couture from the 1900s in one of two locations in central Milan. At this point and still in a vintage state of mind, we’d close the tour with an aperitif and a stunning view from Giacomo’s, the restaurant in the lovely Museo del ‘900 on Piazza Duomo.