While she frequently visits Milan and Paris on buying trips, LINDA COX owner of Aquel in Sydney has had a long love affair with MILAN. She loves this stylish and chic Italian city, as it's not jammed with tourists. It is understated and elegant. But it's when the fashion buyers are in town that speaks to her - the people watching, style and vibe is something else, especially in the summer. Oh my! Here she shares her top tips when visiting this fashion capital.
Milan is… not the city on the top of the tourist list for most people visiting Italy, where tourists are more readily drawn to the cities of Venice, Florence and Rome. Milan has always been known as the centre of Italian fashion and being there during Milan Fashion Week means the streets are busier than usual. But oh, the fashion on the streets is something else. Everyone seems to be associated with the fashion industry in some guise – whether as a model, photographer, fashion buyer, showroom assistant, designer, fashion blogger and they are dressed for the show! There is never a better time than to see the latest looks and trends than on the streets of Milan during Fashion Week.
What takes you to Milan?
As a fashion buyer, I am in Milan 3 – 4 times each year. Sometimes I am travelling alone, other times with my husband and occasionally my 10-year-old daughter joins us too. Not only have we developed a love for Milan, we have discovered Milan is a fabulous hub for enjoying many day trips to places like Turin, Bologna, Verona with a train network that makes these day trips a breeze.
What is your favourite thing about Milan?
Enjoying an aperitif at the end of a day of appointments and people watching.
What should one pack when visiting Milan?
Always comfortable shoes when travelling. Outside of that, Milan is a stylish, understated fashion capital. I always love to have a great jacket and when going to the showrooms, I always try to dress ‘on brand”… meaning I always dress in the label I am seeing.
The fashion showrooms are spread out in Milan so the key is just to stay somewhere in central Milan and use taxis to get between appointments. Room Mate Guilia has become my absolute favourite hotel. Located in a quiet side street right next to the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, it is an easy location for a short taxi ride to just about anywhere I need to be. The young knowledgeable staff at this new boutique hotel give this Hotel the coolest vibe with their cute orange heart shaped badges telling everyone their passion, whether it be food, travel or dancing. After all they are Italian!
Anyone travelling to Milan loves to shop and this is where you will find the flagship stores for the Italian brands. Via Montenapoleone and the streets around it are filled with the most beautiful shops in the world. I always try to visit the boutiques of the labels that we sell at AQUEL so that I stay up to date with how our labels are merchandised in their flagship stores.
There are not a lot of multi-brand boutiques in Milan however if you are short of time and want to see a great selection of Italian brands in one place then La Tenda, Banner and Biffi are all good options. The famous Italian department is Rinascente right by the Duomo and is packed with Italian fashion. The rooftop bar is a perfect spot for an apertif at eye line view with the stunning Gothic architecture of the Duomo. For a unique shopping experience, a visit to the exclusive and innovative department store of Excelsior is worthwhile just to wander the seven floors of contemporary and eye-catching design.
There are no shortage of fabulous Italian restaurants in Milan. At least once during my stay in Milan I have lunch at Dolce & Gabbana’s Bar Martini®. Sitting in the courtyard enjoying a prosecco and truffle risotto on a spring day during Fashion Week is hard to beat. When I need a peaceful spot for lunch, the Armani Hotel restaurant is my favourite. Quiet, refined, understated and elegant in its food and styling, it gives my head a break after the intensity of a showroom appointment. In the evening you will find wonderful Italian cuisine at Dal Bolognese, Giacomo Bistrot and Bice.