Inspired by Fashion in Milan
Love fashion? Heading to Milan? Then you must look up Milano Fashion Tour (MFT)! I had the great pleasure of experiencing their signature Milano Fashion Tour on a recent visit to the fashion capital of the world. Set in the Milan Fashion District, Quadrilatero della Moda, this private 1-hour walking tour showcased what Made in Italy really is all about. With a knowledgeable guide, visits to a selection of top ateliers, fashion stores and an artisan workshop in the hottest district of Milan, this exclusive personalized tour gave me what I was looking for and then so much more!
Fashion in Milan with MFT
I met MFT’s Fashion Guide Cristina in Milan’s Quadrilatero della moda (literally “fashion square”), a high-class shopping district in the center of Milan. Home to numerous fashion boutiques and ateliers of the world’s major fashion houses (both Italian and foreign) fashion industry experts such as Vogue regard the area as one of the most, or even the most important fashion district in the world.
Cristina is a fashion history and Made in Italy buff, former fashion magazine editor, and writer. So of course, she and I instantly clicked. Having done her homework on Lh she began by informing me she had customized the tour for our audience. A wonderful perk of this type of tour, custom and personalized is always better!
We began our walk heading down Via Montenapoleone (also called Via Monte Napoleone). Considered Europe’s most expensive street Via Montenapoleone is the Quadrilatero’s main attraction. So much so that many even refer to the area as the Montenapoleone fashion district.
As we walked Cristina told me about the history of Italian brands on this street. How for decades the best tailor masters in Milan have been passing down the art of tailoring from one generation to the next in Montenapoleone. And how today, however, most of the family shops which were the backbone of the town’s commercial quality have closed due to rising rents. Of the original shops, the only remaining ones are Buccellati, the Cova café, Cusi and Pederzani resist.
Familiar with the Brunello Cucinelli name but not his story, as we stopped near their boutique Cristina enlightened me! Best known as the “King of Cashmere”, the brand’s home base is in a hilltop village in Umbria by the name of Solomeo. Brunello Cucinelli purchased the whole medieval village in 1985 and set out to restore it to its original glory as the home of his brand. Known as one of the best fashion brands in Italy to work for, the factory compound has its own school and many other employee benefits. I love hearing stories like this!
Menswear on Via Gesù
As we walked Cristina told me little stories about the brands we passed until we came to Via Gesù. Locally known as ‘the menswear street’ or ‘the men’s street’, Via Gesù was once inhabited by Milan’s aristocracy. Rich with luxury boutiques and designer shops, if bespoke menswear is what you’re after, this is the first place to head to! On this luxurious street, you will find brands such as Brioni and Caruso. As well as Neapolitan tailor Rubinacci – our next stop.
Upon entering Rubinacci a handsome, impeccably dressed Italian salesman greeted us. In perfect English, with a lovely Italian accent the man (whose name has escaped me!), walked me through the boutique telling me all about Rubinacci’s history, quality, etc. If I was a man with money and a love for fashion, this would be my heaven! With 1000s of beautiful textiles (including one made of Lotus stems – so soft and so expensive!) and endless bespoke options, whatever your wish Rubinacci can deliver.
In the back of the store was a sophisticated and elegant club room for bespoke clients to use during fittings, or at their leisure. Here I learned about Luca Rubinacci, grandson of the brand’s founder Gennaro Rbunacci, who since 2018 has been the creative director of Rubinacci. Responsible for launching the firm’s ready-to-wear line, Luca is a sexy face for the brand. And a particularly stylish dresser making his Instagram feed well worth a visit!
As we passed from the club toward the back of the boutique we passed a beautiful white suit. This exquisite garment belonged to a museum for Neapolitan Tailoring established by Mariano Rubinacci, son of Gennaro. The museum features clothes from the 1930s and has occasionally loaned items to FIT in New York. They also had an exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2014.
Next, we entered the hidden workshop where tailors were busy practicing their art. Stitch by stitch with machine-made perfection! And oh the 23,000 Euro Vicuna coat that was there for a button upgrade!
We ended our tour at designer Federico Sangalli’s atelier—SANGALLI – Haute Couture – Factory of Dreams. Here the family tradition, started by Federico’s grandmother, Maria Sangalli in 1954, lives on as unique couture evening gowns, cocktail attire, and bridal gowns and other beautiful clothing are masterfully created.
Each piece is hand-made on a pedal sewing machine. SANGALLI is the only fashion house in Italy to still use these manual machines in Couture. They work with silk and fiber optics, paper fabrics, metal structures, and mix and match heavy and soft materials to create unique and intriguing designs! “The true luxury made in Italy.”
Unfortunately, we arrived late to SANGALLI so we missed seeing the atelier’s workshop and meeting Federico. Nonetheless seeing the beautiful gowns and other stunning hand-made items of clothing was well worth the stop.
SANGALLI also had a Home Couture collection on display – a new venture for the brand!
A truly inspiring and delightful hour of fashion in Milan with Milano Fashion Tour!!
MFT now offers the opportunity to create a unique fashion show in Milan! Give them a date and a venue (a dinner, a happy hour or business event). And Milano Fashion Tour will organize a Fashion Show with 10 models for you. Designers are from among the best Milanese designers creating and producing in Italy.
Words by Anna Bimba
All Photos Courtesy of Ateliers or by Love Happens