D&G COCKTAIL: Milan designers always complain about the lack of bars and clubs in the city, so now Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana are putting their money where their drinks are. The duo recently opened the doors to their Dolce & Gabbana Bar, next to their new men’s store in Corso Venezia. The duo entered a joint deal with Italian spirits company Martini & Rossi. The bar, done up in black marble and steel, is the first of what could eventually become a chain. Already the two-level space is becoming the preferred stop for the fashion flock looking to fuel up on Red Bull and vodka between shopping bursts or to wind down with a Spumante after stores close for the night.
This story first appeared in the February 20, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
TOWN AND COUNTRY: If the baroque decor of Milan’s Principe Hotel is a bit too stifling and the price tag of the Four Seasons a bit over budget, Town House 31 might be the perfect alternative. Located on Via Goldoni, a 10-minute walk from the city’s center, the 18-room boutique hotel offers travelers a respite with its tranquil beige and cream palette, marble bathrooms, linen sheets and patio bar. Management has even set up room service with 10 of Milan’s top restaurants. Guests can order anything from chicken curry to sushi to a simple dish of pasta. No plastic containers though — hotel staff prepares the presentation of the food before it is delivered to guest rooms. “We’re really trying to promote an anti- jet lag mentality,” said Alessandro Rosso, owner and manager of the hotel. “The whole philosophy is about creating a personal space, almost a vacation house for our guests.”
CAVALLI IN THE PARK: From a distance, Parco Sempione’s latest arrival looks like a space station constructed from metal piping and glass. But it’s really Roberto Cavalli’s latest culinary foray. Teak floors, antelope fur-covered chairs and oriental fabrics furnish the Just Cavalli Cafe located at the base of the Torre Branca, a 354-foot steel tower built by Gio Ponti and Cesare Chiodi in 1932. The safari-meets-Bangkok lounge decor might be a sensory overload, but pets keep the ambiance homey. Goldfish swirl about in long-stemmed bowls on each table, and a pair of Dogo Argentino dogs mill about to greet new arrivals. The menu veers from standard Italian favorites to the international, including a series of meat dishes by Argentine chef Leonardo Perazzoli.
CHEAP AND CHIC: There’s no need to shell out thousands of dollars for a bauble on a shopping spree down Via Montenapoleone. Jeweler Damiani has opened its first Bliss store. The line, geared toward younger customers, features simple and graphic pieces in gold, with colored stones and sprinkles of sapphires, rubies and emeralds. The prices are just right for an impulse buy that won’t break the bank. A simple cross pendant with a small diamond inset on a leather cord goes for just 150 euro while a diamond necklace goes for 1,800 euro.
RENT A SHOPPER: Saw a pair of darling Prada pumps but ran out of time to head to the store? The Excelsior Hotel Gallia has become the first luxury hotel in Milan to offer its guests in-house personal shoppers. The hotel has hand-picked three multilingual consultants to lend their services to foreign guests. And they don’t just shop. Need a hairdresser or a hip club? How about an honest opinion on how your backside looks in those pants? Fashion counseling is part of the package, which starts at 40 euros an hour. Not to be outdone, the Four Seasons offers a similar service. Guests can rent out a shopping assistant to guide them around town for about 350 euros to 400 euros a day.
KRIZIA REBORN: The newly renovated Krizia boutique in Via Spiga 23 will reopen on March 1, the evening of the designer’s fall runway show. Mariuccia Mandelli, the first to open a single-brand store on this street 20 years ago, said she wanted “more light, more transparency, more visibility and more room.” Working with architect Piero Pinto, who designed the original boutique, Mandelli enlarged the windows and brought them forward on the pavement, for a “more direct communication with the outside.” Inside the boutique, the bar, which will serve Mandelli’s favorite apple pie — her personal chef’s secret recipe — is also more visible than before.
The red fluorescent inside of a silver fiberglass lamp designed by Ingo Maurer becomes a focal point of the store, contrasting with black furniture by Achille Castiglioni, black seats by Fronzoni for Cappellini and armchairs by Niemeyer for Poltrona Frau. Runway images will be projected on a new, technologically advanced flat carbonium screen.