Milan’s most unconventional boutiques © Garden K

Milan’s most unconventional boutiques

 We unveiled Milan’s fashion secrets. Forget – or at least try to do so - Prada, Versace, Armani, Dolce & Gabbana and all the other Italian fashion superstars and join us for a virtual tour of the city’s most creative and artistic boutiques.

by Sara Kaufman

Milan and shopping have always gone hand in hand. Not just because of the historic Italian fashion tradition, but also because Italians basically own style. In Milan, people of all ages are always “dressed”, no matter what time of the day it is or where they are heading. Alongside with the professionals, the “fashion bunch”, who actually usually prefer to keep a low profile (except for journalists of course, we love showing off!) you will see impeccably groomed ladies on their way to the supermarket as well as perfectly styled gents having their morning coffee dressed in head to toe Armani.

streetstyle by guido pancotti3© Guido Pancotti

Nevertheless, in the last few years the fashionable Milanese crowd has become more and more demanding. The threat of being considered “too classic” and “old fashioned” by their all times rivals, the Parisians (French and Italians just love competing, whether it’s football, politics or Prada vs Chanel) has urged them to put aside their sophisticated Versaces and their polished Jill Sanders and go hunting for something more unique.

But even before these revolutionary twists, some boutiques have been on the unique side of fashion. Far from merely selling clothes, these kind of shops offer a concept. They display the thought behind the creations and just by walking inside them you feel at home, like if someone finally spoke your style language. Milan is home to a few of these precious places.

Related article: District Special: L'Arabesque 

So if during your next visit to the Italian capital of fashion you feel like embracing the New Milanese Style, or if you’re simply in the mood for an inspiring “I’m just browsing” tour, be sure not miss out our selection.

Merry Go Round

merrygoround1© Merry Go Round

In March 2012 Cristina took a piece of her heart, placed it into a clean white container, crammed it with everything she loved and got the carousel going. There are no “labels” in her shop, only “items”, everything is hand-picked. Cristina knows her clients, better than that, she knows Milan: she understands the city’s snobbish vibe and has a very clear idea of how to deal with it. Her shop is located in Via Larga, next to the central square but far away enough from the mainstream shopping streets and all their carnival. She keeps her shop minimalistic and allows every piece of clothing to shine out for itself. If you’re looking for the “little black dress” you will probably not find it, but you might end up buying a gingham gown, amazed by how elegant it actually is. If you think you need a grey, sleek, cardigan, your choice will fall on an emerald green – surprisingly versatile - knitted one. Cristina’s passion is contagious; her love for the unconventional is so genuine that it turns the unusual into something as natural as style should be.

Related article: Via Gesù 

Wait and See

wait and see© Wait and See

The founder of Wait and See, Uberta Zambeletti, has been a fashion designer, a stylist, an interior decorator, an art director and a fashion coordinator for major international brands such as Missoni, Max Mara, Etro and Pinko. In other words, she’s been around forever. Probably for this reason, even her shop feels like it’s been there forever and you just weren’t looking properly. Very close to the center but at the same time secluded, in the tiny Via Santa Marta, Uberta has no need whatsoever of placing her boutique in the busy roads, in fact she probably prefers not do so. Whoever wants her will go and find her and the hustle and bustle would just interfere with the cozy vibe she created. Wait and See is the perfect mixture of a bohemian tearoom and the eccentric boudoir of your stylish aunt. Everything in there is absolutely ageless, it can dress everyone, from the cool teenager to the even cooler granny. Most of the brands she works with are quite well known, but the pieces she selects are so special that you just forget to check the label. It’s the kind of shop that makes you want to try everything, to reinvent yourself, like a spectacular box of fancy costumes.

Related article: Galleria Vittorio Emanuele

Frip

FRIP 1FRIP

“And now for something completely different” as someone once said. Forget posh, fancy and frivolous. More specifically, forget Italy. Think North - like really North, Scandinavia and such – and step into the small but savvy Frip. Although not all brands are actually Scandinavian, the understated style that Frip proposes clearly has that kind of mood: practical, simple, cleansed from all unnecessary clichés and almost impossible to find elsewhere in Milan. Amongst others, Acne Studios (a big favourite), Marios, Lucio Vanotti, Henrik Vibskov and Marques Almeida join forces with a couple of unisex friends and display an impressively “sensible” collection” of basics and avant-guard. Located in Corso di Porta Ticinese, the “punk converted into stylish” neighborhood, Frip also sells international fashion and art magazines, together with a meticulously curated selection of accessories.

Garden K

garden k6Garden K

The final destination of our virtual tour takes us from Scandinavia to Korea. Ennji is the owner of this amazing shop located in Via Vigevano, right next to the canals (yes, Venice is not the only Italian city that can boast canals, Milan also has its fair share). She chose to work almost exclusively with Korean brands which she encounters in her scouting trips back in her home country. Everything is gorgeously styled inside and outside the shop: the windows are always inspiring, the clothes are displayed in chromatic order and vintage furniture is scattered around the carefully designed interiors. All the items are one of a kind. When we think of Korean women we think of delicate features, porcelain skin and intriguing allure. This description kind of applies also to what you can find in Garden K. Clothes and accessories with simple elegant lines, very feminine in their own way and usually featuring at least one surprising, seductive, glamorous element; whether it’s the color, the shape or some unexpected detail.

 

For more ideas on where to shop in Milan, visit our destination page.