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Museums, galleries and showrooms celebrate the bond between the city, fashion and design.
As the home of fashion schools, the National Chamber of Fashion and host of Fashion Weeks, it’s no surprise that designers like Prada, Armani, and Dolce & Gabbana are all from here. People come to Milan to discover new trends, shop in the fashion district and visit the many designers and emerging talents and their boutiques.
Among concealed showrooms and private galleries, here are eight essential locations for fashion and design lovers. (Fondazione Prada excluded, because – to avoid misunderstandings – it does not host any corporate museum or outlet).
A journey through the main themes that have been inspired for 40 years the creative work of Giorgio Armani: featuring clothes from the 1980s to the present day and a searchable digital archive. In addition to this, you’ll find temporary exhibitions of contemporary artists and photographers. The design by architect Tadao Ando is worth a visit in itself.
It is not that easy to tell if it’s a private collection, a space for temporary exhibitions or a house-museum. Defining this space, in the middle of Chinatown, is as difficult as the multifaceted personality of its founder, curator Luisa delle Piane. Since 1994, design, contemporary art and jewellery exhibitions have been held here – and you can buy a few pieces of furniture and accessories by designers such as Fornasetti, Gae Aulenti, Gaetano Pesce, Sottsass as well as items designed specifically for this space.
Clothes and furniture realised by the designer alongside travel souvenirs, historical documentation with photographs, drawings, videos, press releases, magazines, and hand-written notes of the designer. You can visit it by appointment or at certain times of the year.
Textile expert Rossana Orlandi has built a career at the side of great international designers. Having opened her art gallery in 2002, she’s created a space to give free expression to her love for design, creativity and tables. A location for exhibitions and events, a shop, and around the corner, the cosy Marta restaurant, of chef Marta Pulini.
Corsets, hats, shoes and fans: nothing trendy and contemporary, but one of the seats of the Milanese civic collections, perfect for fashion enthusiasts. Palazzo Morando has a past of aristocratic families who lived on its premises, but now hosts an impressive art gallery devoted to the iconography of Milan, with rooms designed to accommodate the collection of the fashion and past styles of the city. Temporary and permanent exhibitions showcase the most significant garments and rich wardrobes between the late 17th to 19th centuries – and not just Italian ones.
The northern area of Milan used to be considered suburbs. Now it is called NoLo (North of Loreto, to mimic NYC) or Lambrate Ventura – one of the most interesting Milan Design Week districts. Subalterno1 is a mix of 50s and 60s modern design exhibition space and a furnishing store – all very minimalistic hipster with original pieces. The focus is on Italian self-production and if you are looking for something truly original, this is the right place.
Three floors of fashion with more than 200 international brands, selected must-haves, and contemporary cult pieces for the street-style lovers. The best of fashion, accessories, shoes, costume jewellery, handbags, watches, techno gadgets, make up, and so on…
The first and only museum of Italian design which opened in 2007 at la Triennale. A permanent path and temporary exhibitions on Italian design, in continuous evolution thanks to themes and installations that change each year. The 1960s and 1970s design path is very enjoyable, with many original pieces, often still produced today, and forgotten items such as fridges, record players and analogue phones.