Whenever someone says Italian Fashion’s better than French Fashion, it raises my hackles. First of all, no one has to win. There’s room for everyone. And secondly, let’s be honest, if someone has to win, it must be Paris.
That said, I actually went to Milan last weekend and, although I come from Paris, and was naturally drawn to comparing everything, I liked it a lot. I might even have said I could see myself living there. Maybe I said this four times. Maybe I had been drinking too much wine. Don’t listen to me.
In general, I thought both cities where quite similar. Beautiful cathedrals, cute guys, and stylish girls – it’s hard not to ask them where they got their bag. And their dress. And their hair. And their face actually. And, will you marry me?
But something’s different about Milan. Something’s better.
They achieved something we really fail at: mixing the two coolest things in the world – food and fashion – to create the ultimate dream: couture bakeries, cafes, hotels and restaurants. In Milan, you can get a weekend signed by the most talented Italian designers. Lunch? Comes from Prada. What about your wine? Armani. Have you seen this cute brownie? I know… Gucci. Sold out.
PARIS! Where is the Givenchy bakery? The Jean Paul Gaultier museum? And the YSL cafe? We have amazing Ralph’s. But Ralph Lauren is not even French for God’s sake. As if Chanel couldn’t open a restaurant on Rue Cambon?
Milan 1. Paris 0. It’s fine, we can lose with grace. Let me give you a fashion food-tour of Milan. My treat!
First, have breakfast at Bar Luce, the space designed by brilliant director Wes Anderson for the Fondazione Prada. Recreating the atmosphere of a typical Milanese cafè, it could certainly be the set of his next film. A Steve Zissou’s pinball – which you can play with for free – and massive cakes looking a lot like Mendl’s’ in The Grand Budapest Hotel… On my planet, that’s what we call paradise. If you like pink and green and jukeboxes and formica and mini tarts, don’t miss your chance to have breakfast in a Wes Anderson movie.
But if you’re in a hurry, just get a croissant from Miuccia’s Marchesi, a lovely authentic pasticceria founded in 1824 and acquired by Prada in 2014.
For lunch, you could probably eat at Armani Hotel’s ristorante. But if you’re not into chicory sprouts with vinegar for 35 euros, what about skipping food and feeding yourself with 40 years of Giorgio’s masterpieces at museum Armani/Silos? 4500 square meters of straps, pearls, sequins and feathers should fill you up. It was clearly enough for us.
I’m lying, I ate pasta at Madonnina, a cool trattoria on Via Gentilino. I would NEVER skip a meal.
In the afternoon, shopping at Vintage Delirium, Dmagazine Outlet, quadrilatero della moda – the only place in the world where the guy from the kiosk gives you Vogue in a Dolce & Gabbana carrier bag – and finally, fantastic concept store 10 Corso Como.
Or a more cultural option with FIA’s Villa Necchi Campiglio to learn everything about the very fashionable Nedda and Gigina Necchi and the mansion they lived in, built in the early 30’s by rationalist architect Piero Portaluppi. I liked the colours of the sofas and the wooden walls but mainly, the hats, the vintage Gucci mini trunk and Christian Dior scarves signed by the man himself “Pour Madame Nedda Necchi”. Chic.
For the apéro, if you can’t choose between edgy and fancy Milan, why not getting a taste of both? Head to Duomo, queue for one of Luini’s famous panzerottis and devour it on your way to Gucci Cafe. There, get a glass of Petra.
It’s 8pm. If you’re still thirsty, get another glass of wine on the rooftop terrace of Ceresio 7. They serve food. But you might already be full of panzerottis. Your call.
I guess Karl’s Brasserie Gabrielle at the F/W 2015/2016 Chanel show was the closest Paris got to having a branded meal. How could designers find time to cook tartiflettes with six collections a year though? Can’t even come up with something more elaborate than cereals for lunch.
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Written by Margot Noel, originally published on her >blog< in November 2015.
Visit Margot’s site to see the article.