MILAN — A brief guide to restaurants, exhibitions and stores in town to check out in between the fashion shows. Plus, a few getaways just outside the city to detox and break free.
COFFEE BREAK: Gelsomina
Fashion yes, but coffee first. A quick stop in this relaxed pastry shop can provide an energy boost worthy of a fashion marathon but also many tempting treats, including a wide range of croissants — the one with the pistachio stuffing is a must — mini cakes, pies and Sicilian specialties such as the cannolo and the cassata. For those with a stronger willpower, healthier options include yogurt with granola, cereals, fruit salads and avocado toast, while a selection of light courses is offered for lunch. The sense of coziness provided by the bright space punctuated by blue tiles and wood furniture and by the delicate porcelain dishes and cups reminiscent of your grandmother’s sets, refuels the soul just as much as the sweet treats. — Sandra Salibian
Via Carlo Tenca, 5
+39 02 6671 3696
Hours: Wednesday to Monday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
EXHIBITIONS: “Spitzmaus Mummy in a Coffin and Other Treasures” at Fondazione Prada
A massive exhibition is bowing at Fondazione Prada this week. Curated by acclaimed director Wes Anderson along with his life partner and Lebanese artist and writer Juman Malouf, its title nods to one of the pieces on show — an Egyptian wooden box containing a shrew mummy. The exhibit gathers some 530 artworks from Wien’s Kunsthistorisches and Naturhistorisches museums ranging from Egyptian relics to antique instruments, carriages and paintings. Aimed at exploring the reasons behind the art of collecting objects, the exhibit is organized as a wunderkammer, grouping similar pieces according to shared features, such as color, size or provenance. Although the show was first mounted in Wien in 2018, its Milan leg at Fondazione Prada represents an expanded and richer version. The Milan institution is also publishing a catalogue inspired by Marcel Duchamp’s “Boîte en-valise,” which contains drawings, reproductions and miniatures hinging on the portable museum concept. The exhibit will run through Jan. 13. — Martino Carrera
Largo Isarco, 2 From Sept. 20 to Jan. 13, 2020
Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Friday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
+39 02 5666 2611
EXHIBITIONS: “Milano and Fashion: An Homage to Gian Paolo Barbieri” at the Pirelli Tower
When Italy’s Vogue magazine was still named “Novità” in the early Sixties, Milan-based and self-taught fashion photographer Gian Paolo Barbieri was witnessing the evolution of the country’s fashion system. A pioneer in fashion photography, he has logged several advertising campaigns and portraits of everyone from movie stars to supermodels. In conjunction with the city’s fashion week, the Gian Paolo Barbieri Foundation with the support of the Lombardy Region mounts a dedicated exhibition hosted at the Pirelli Tower through the end of the month. Around 70 images from the photographer will retrace his work across four decades, including the iconic 1991 picture he created for the late designer Gianfranco Ferrè. Fronted by model Aly Dunne against the Duomo cathedral and surrounded by pigeons, the picture telegraphs Barbieri’s constant search for perfection and frankness in his work. — Martino Carrera
Via Fabio Filzi, 22
From Sept. 18 to 30
Hours: Monday to Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., from 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
+39 02 5519 4154
RESTAURANTS: Viva by Viviana Varese
Michelin-starred chef Viviana Varese is one of those energetic people always on the hunt for the next challenge. Marking a new step in her career, Varese has unveiled her Viva restaurant located on the second floor of Milan’s food court Eataly this month. Formerly known as Alice, the unit was completely revamped to convey a new dining experience in which art and design pieces enhance the food tasting. They include lighting from Artemide, a “social table” designed by Renzo and Matteo Piano and cutlery from Gio Ponti. Hanging on the wall opposite the open kitchen, an artwork created by Marco Nereo Rotelli is composed of 80 small paintings bearing lucky symbols and words, such as freedom, iridescence, wonder and slow food, which telegraph the restaurant’s manifesto. “The key idea was to bring color to the table,” Varese said, adding that the location reflects the energized momentum of the city. The chef’s signature dishes include “Black and White,” a cauliflower panna cotta with caviar and yuzu or “Profondità [Depth],” comprising king crab and a concentrated soup and plankton. And if you wonder what wine should go with such a refined menu, Varese has around 700 different options in her cellar for you to choose from. — Martino Carrera
Piazza XXV Aprile, 10
Hours: Monday to Saturday from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., from 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
+39 02 4949 7340
Cross-pollination is a trend on the runways as much as in the kitchens. This urban and postindustrial space, which recently opened its doors in central Milan, comprises a Tapa bistrot, an American Bar and a dining space called Osteria located on a spaceship-like suspended platform, which will be unveiled next month. Established by entrepreneur Lorenzo Querci and chef Enrico Croatti, the restaurant’s key message is to offer an experience of different cuisines. A chicken breaded cutlet “Los Angeles to Milan,” as well as the “Nausicaa” cocktail, mixing tequila, caviar lime, jalapeño, and black salt from Hawaii, epitomize Moebius’ approach in fusing French, Spanish and American influences. Enhancing the dining experience, an impressive, 700-year-old olive tree welcomes guests on the ground floor, where a stage for jazz concerts and a vinyl store are also installed. — Martino Carrera
Via Alfredo Cappellini, 25
Hours: Monday to Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Friday to Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m.
+39 02 3664 3680
SHOPPING: Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini’s shop-in-shop at Clan Upstairs
Since joining the Aeffe fashion group at the end of 2014, succeeding Natalie Ratabesi, Lorenzo Serafini has been honing the image of the brand with a feminine and romantic style, yet adding edgy and cool touches. The designer is now embracing the opportunity to show his work through a retail development, officially inaugurating a 756-square-foot shop-in-shop at multibrand store Clan Upstairs on Sept. 21 on Via Pontaccio in the artsy Brera district.
“We are discovering how the Brera area teems with local shoppers compared with the more central streets such as Via Montenapoleone, which is beautiful, but attracts mostly tourists. I like how varied the customers are in Brera, which has its own identity, very authentic and characteristic,” said Serafini.
The shop-in-shop was conceived as a “bourgeois apartment,” in a soft and relaxing green color palette. Boiserie, walls of polished mirrors, black and white marble cubes and candy pink armchairs, as well as brass details are some of the main elements. There is also a small café surrounded by plants, sofas and pillows personalized with the fall prints and fabrics from the brand’s fall collection. Exclusively during Milan Fashion Week, the store will carry unique evening gowns inspired by red-carpet designs.
Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini has been performing well at Clan Upstairs, said the designer, and its owners, Fabio Bisogno and Sarah Spaak, wanted to dedicate an area of the store just to the brand. “Clan has a loyal clientele and it’s a multifunctional space, with yoga courses for example, I like that it’s not a traditional boutique,” Serafini explained.
Another Philosophy store has just opened in Rome, “also very intimate,” said Serafini, and that will be officially inaugurated on Oct. 16 during the city’s Film Festival. After the brand’s Milan runway show, Serafini will also open a pop-up at Printemps in Paris. — Luisa Zargani
Via Pontaccio, 15
Hours 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
+ 39 02 875759
SHOPPING: Histoires de Parfums Pop-up Store
Slightly less traveled than their fashion sisters, Milan’s shopping roads dedicated to beauty also contribute to the city’s charm. Inaugurated over the summer and running through the end of the year, the Histoires de Parfums pop-up store is the latest addition to the Milanese retail network dedicated to the category. Located in the artsy Brera district — which boasts a concentration of artisanal perfumeries — the unit stands out for its essential design made of white and glass shelves, freshened up by pops of blue, pink and yellow hues on the walls to match the range of graphic packaging of the brand launched in 2000 by Gérald Ghislain. — Sandra Salibian
Histoires de Parfums
Via Madonnina, 17
Hours: Monday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
MULTI-DESTINATION: The Manzoni
A destination suitable for the slash generation, this stylish showroom/restaurant/bar is situated in the heart of the city, a few steps away from the Golden Triangle. The creative mind behind the project is English designer Tom Dixon, who wanted to establish his Milanese headquarters and present his collections of lighting, furniture and accessories in a dynamic context. The gray space is punctuated by metallic and marble accents, including stainless steel vitrines showcasing Dixon’s tea and coffee pot designs and glass carafes. The designer’s signature Fat dining chairs and Opal lamps are also among the key pieces featured in the location. One of the most impactful corners that can additionally host private events, the “Jungle room” disrupts the monochromatic theme by juxtaposing plants with globe-shaped brass lamps, while an outdoor courtyard features a vast custom-made green marble table. A granite bar welcomes guests at the entrance of the restaurant and contrasts with geometric mint-green floor and wall tiles. – Sandra Salibian
Via Alessandro Manzoni, 5
Showroom and shop:
+39 349 71 65 798
Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
+39 02 8909 4348
Monday to Saturday from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. and from 6:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Bar open from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
GETAWAY: Mandarin Oriental hotel on Lake Como
If even God rested on the seventh day, who are the fashionistas to resist some well-deserved time-off at the end of a week of shows and events? To break free and detox from clothes and accessories before the final round of Paris Fashion Week kicks off, they can take refuge in the calm and beauty of the Lake Como, just an hour away from Milan. Style won’t be compromised and Instagram accounts won’t be neglected with a visit at the new Mandarin Oriental hotel, a resort nestled between lush botanical gardens and the shore of the lake. Interior designer Eric Egan honored the original elements of the resort’s beating heart — Villa Roccabruna — such as inlaid wood floors, marble columns and coffered ceilings, spicing it up with modern furniture pieces and oriental accents. A former residence of Italian soprano Giuditta Pasta in the 19th century, the Villa offers an unmatched view on the lake, luxury spa treatments and Mediterranean cuisine overseen by acclaimed chef Vincenzo Guarino. For a James Bond-esque experience, the resort also offers private boat trips across the lake. – Sandra Salibian
Mandarin Oriental at Lake Como
Via Caronti, 69
22020 Blevio (Co)
+39 031 32 511
GETAWAY: Ca’ Del Bosco Wine Cellar
If “A Good Year” is more in your cinematographic chords, opt for the Franciacorta area. A 90-minute drive from Milan, the Ca’ del Bosco wine cellar opens its artsy golden gates to guests and wine aficionados to offer an immersive tasting experience. Established in the late Sixties by the company’s current president Maurizio Zanella, who turned a mansion nestled in a forest of chestnut trees into one of the most prominent Italian wine producers, the Ca’ del Bosco property stands out also for the contemporary artworks positioned in different areas of the estate to complement the charming natural landscape. Sculptures from Italian artists Arnaldo Pomodoro, Stefano Bombardieri and Paola Epifani, best known as Rabarama, are showcased next to pieces by German artist Igor Mitoraj and the eccentric installation of the Cracking Art Group, which lined up a pack of blue wolves to guard the estate. – Sandra Salibian
Ca’ Del Bosco
Via Albano Zanella, 13
25030 Erbusco (Bs)
+39 030 7766111