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Milan Preview: Scene

Keeping busy in Milano.

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Appeared In
Special Issue
WWD Milan Preview issue 09/18/2008

BAG IT

For those who just can’t fit their Italian souvenirs into their bags heading back home, Tumi is coming to the rescue. The accessories brand is opening its latest boutique this week in Milan’s golden shopping district, near the Burberry and Jil Sander banners. Modeled after Tumi’s Manhattan flagship, the store’s design reflects the company’s recent focus on feminine accessories without neglecting its core men’s business. The label’s trademark red panels and red Murano glass chandeliers contrast with the neutral limestone floor, while enameled ebony displays with chrome fixtures complete the look, spearheaded by Tumi’s new creative director, David Chu.

Tumi, 31 Via Verri; Tel.: +39-02-7600-4830

FRILL A MINUTE

Carlotta Danti, the spirited mind behind Rosamosario, is placing her precious golden eggs in Milan’s basket. Her first store, dedicated to her luxury lingerie line, marks a big step for the self-made designer and a fresh look for the conventional, old-Milan Viale Premuda neighborhood. The uncluttered white walls serve as an ideal backdrop for the lingerie, priced between 120 and 400 euros, or $170 and $560 at current exchange, and the sleepwear, retailing from 500 to 2,000 euros, or $700 to $2,800. Danti’s designs are displayed like works of art, draped from gilded wood hangers reminiscent of Renaissance picture frames. The high ceilings are balanced by the innovative lighting and strategically placed floor-to-ceiling mirrors. A raw, unfinished concrete floor contrasts starkly with red and gold velvet furniture, an eclectic mix that reflects the personality of the designer. An opening fete will take place during fashion week, on Sept. 23, complete with lingerie models, a Rolls Royce on display in the garden and Krug Champagne flowing. But if you can’t make the party, the bubbly will always be available at the store’s Champagne point.

Rosamosario, 21 Via Benvenuto Cellini;

Tel.: +39-33-8154-3761

WE ALL SCREAM

Walking into this new gelateria is like entering one of Milan’s designer boutiques — given the care the owners take in displaying their products. But instead of the latest ready-to-wear or accessories, visitors find milk bottles and enticing piles of gelato and fresh fruit at Bianco Latte. Even the decor screams “yum” — the dark chocolate hardwood floor surrounded by cream-colored walls and milky white accents is enough to put anyone in the mood for ice cream. The siblings behind Bianco Latte, Valentina and Ludovica di Sarro decided to start their own business when attempts to open a Starbucks in Milan turned out to be futile. “We wanted to start our own chain, using quality Italian products and offering a healthy alternative,” said Ludovica di Sarro. Bianco Latte’s strength surely lies in the rich, all-natural gelato, which is free of hydrogenated fats. Among the favorite flavors are Buonbiscotto and pistachio. The treats don’t end in the freezer, though, as house-roasted coffee, cookies, pastries, granitas — Sicilian-style slushies — milk shakes, fruit smoothies and the original “gelato-drink” that combines fruit sorbets with fruit juices are also on the menu. A new dining room opening in time for fashion week will offer a selection of salads, sandwiches and cold and hot dishes, all homemade. Bianco Latte is open daily from 7 a.m. until midnight.

Bianco Latte, 30 Via Turati; Tel.: +39-02-6208-6177

SHOE BET

Les Tropeziennes designer and founder Massimo Palazzo can now count a boutique in the golden triangle, scooping up the previous Godiva chocolate location on Via Manzoni — just steps from the Armani megastore. Art Deco silk jacquard tapestry panels in understated tan and gray hues are fitting for the new, more sophisticated location — a departure from the brand’s original frilly flagship near Porta Ticinese. Warm travertine marble floors add to the cozy mood of the store. The ground floor showcases the core collection, priced from 300 to 1,000 euros, or $420 to $1,400, while one-of-a-kind and custom-made shoes are available on the top floor.

Les Tropeziennes, 29 Via Manzoni; Tel.: +39-02-7208-0308

BEIRUT CHIC

Restaurant Lyr was born of a desire to introduce the delights of hummus, kibbeh and traditional Lebanese cuisine, as well as the chic vibe of Beirut to the daring Milanese. Opened by Lebanese entrepreneur Rahib El Monla, the design of the restaurant is a mélange of contrasts — earth tones and gold; leather brocade with cotton; rococo Louis XVI sofas and armchairs with minimalist tables. Chef Morhaf Iddin describes his cuisine as a contemporary take on traditional Lebanese recipes — some from his mother — adapted for the more delicate European taste buds. Try the sea bass kibbeh and the Fillet Lyr with a secret Lebanese twist. The well-stocked wine list of European and Lebanese vintages boasts a 30-year-old Chateau Musar.

Lyr, 48 Corso Sempione; Tel.: +39-02-3361-2490

WHITE HOUSE

On the eve of its one-year anniversary, Ristorante Bianca has established itself among the most fashionable eateries in Milan. Already a favorite with the fashion crowd, Bianca is also attracting food connoisseurs who are seduced by its block-white decor, which is believed to accentuate the senses, colors, smells and taste of the food. The young owners have created a relaxing atmosphere with music from the Twenties seeping through a quiet patio situated out back, where guests can enjoy relaxed aperitivi or light lunches. A Zone diet option is also available. Sardinian Francesco Onida, the 25-year-old head chef, worked at the Bulgari Hotel restaurant before joining Bianca. He suggests the porceddu, or roasted suckling pig, a Sardinian specialty that’s always on the menu, or a sampler of more traditional insular cuisine, with a monthly appointment on a Monday for a Sardinian-only themed night.

Bianca, 10 Via Panizza; Tel.: +39-02-4540-9037

JUST RELAX

According to Lucia Russi, one pitfall of today’s breakneck pace is that people don’t know how to take it easy anymore.

To change such an unhealthy habit, Russi followed the example of her Roman ancestors and their concept of spa to open Aquae Calidae, the first Roman bath in Milan.

“The first thing the Romans did when they settled someplace was to build a crossroad and a spa to heal their mind and body. This was 2,000 years ago,” explained Russi. “We wanted to re-create that atmosphere, where people tune out and recharge themselves without the pressure of rushing off after a massage because someone else is waiting.”

Flexible in terms of stay, Aquae Calidae is an emotional and sensorial experience. Guests can meditate, sweat it out in a scented, candle-lit steam room and get a sea salt, spring water and oil scrub by a tunic-clad maid, and then indulge in a massage or a signature donkey milk lotion treatment.

Aquae Calidae,14 Via Santa Sofia; Tel.: +39-02-5843-0269

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