A contemporary urban expedition in a retro state of mind, that’s the spirit of our Milan Vintage Tour. A professional guide and design expert will lead you on the insiders’ route through some of the Lombard capital’s coolest neighbourhoods, stopping where nostalgia rules ok and venerable styles have the edge on this year’s models in concept, décor, clothing and accessories.
Now vintage is really at home in those areas that still have an authentic feel. So a fine place to start would be the banks of the Navigli, the old canals south-west of centre, which really start to buzz as the sun sets. There’s a boutique hotel there, in a typical balustrade home with a gorgeous inner courtyard, which sets a benchmark for low-pressure vintage styling. It’s called Maison Borrella and will likely charm you to bits. In the same neighbourhood is a small showroom with a big name: Mauro Bolognesi is well-known to lovers of modern collectables in this neck of the woods, with an inspiring selection of designer furniture much of which hails from northern Europe.
A walk through Vicolo dei Lavandai, where women once did the laundry under a tiled canopy, is a must before leaving the area: it’s now an atmospheric setting for small restaurants and ateliers.
Zona Tortona might come next, or thereabouts: not far to walk and home to more vintage landmarks. The amazing Nonostante Marras concept store is one of them, a multifunctional space where retro fashions and the new Antonio Marras collections mingle with books, art and food in an eclectic vintage and/or upcycled setting. Then there’s Cavalli e Nastri, vintage clothing heaven and pretty much a classic by now, with three stores in central Milan – one dedicated to menswear – packed with haute couture from the 1900s.
In the heart of the city are a couple of retro-interest stops in a labyrinthine old district that’s lately taken out a new lease of life, the Cinque Vie. The first is Wait and See, tucked away in a former convent in Via Santa Marta: a cosy concept store with a retro aesthetic and vintage pieces in a unique collection of womenswear and accessories sourced the world over by fashion and interiors designer Uberta Zambelletti. The other is Susanna Ausoni’s My Room. Stylist to the Milanese upper crust, she’s the pro to go to when you need the perfect outfit, selected from her own mix of new and vintage.
Pure, certified and exclusive vintage fashion, on the other hand, is what you get at the Vintage Delirium showroom, in a charming courtyard not far from La Scala. Franco Jacassi hails from the art world, and collecting is a habit. He has a stunning range of haute couture, fabrics and haberdashery dating from the nineteenth century to the 1980s, and his own collection of accessories exquisitely made up from vintage fabrics and trimmings.
Another exclusive courtyard space – and a must on almost any Milan tour – is Spazio Rossana Orlandi. Rossana is practically a cult figure in Milanese art and design circles. Her gallery-cum-store in a former factory in the Magenta neighbourhood showcases contemporary art and design by emerging creatives from all over the globe as well as fine vintage furnishings.
It could well be time for a well-earned aperitif now – but if anyone’s in need of attention in the hairdressing line, we’ll call at Gum, Milan’s coolest salon and barbershop with its perfect US vintage fittings and old-school formula of personal attention.
And those sundowners? The Milan Vintage Tour will take you south to Fonderie Milanesi to sip on a classic cocktail in the 250-year-old former metal workshop. Or maybe to The Doping Club in the Porta Ticinese area, getting trendier by the day: this is the refined, vintage-sports-theme cocktail bar at The Yard hotel. Or even back to the Navigli, where the night could be long at the exclusive 1930 club, hidden at the back of a seemingly ordinary bar, clearly inspired by the speakeasies of the era of prohibition.
Contact us for more information and a customised Milan Vintage Tour.