Rahi Chadda’s guide to Milan Fashion Week 2020 and the best places in the fashion capital
An insider's view
My 2020 prep had already begun in December 2019. With a roaring month of fashion ahead of me, I found my Christmas rather chaotic. In the midst of a yo-yo diet in preparation to fit into the gorgeous sample pieces and running to my dermatologist for last minute spot injections, I realised that I will be spending a whole week in Milan! The itinerary was, of course, scheduled with shows and presentations but a whole week in Milan meant I had the opportunity to explore the city as a tourist. I travelled in the local metro, ate at the rustic pizzerias, indulged in homemade tiramisu and partied until 4am sober. Which was quite the experience, literally.
Let’s start with the shows and presentations…
On the first night was Ermenegildo Zegna. The collection really captured the spirit of the season. Superstructure bombers, soft tailoring, mineral hues and the leather… it was a whole mood! Flatcaps had been stylishly assembled with shades resembling swimming googles and aubergine jacquard suits. A new logo revived from the archives captured the essence of the brand, which to me signified a reformed version of masculinity: A man who focussed on spreading love, humility and breaking boundaries to explore new territories.
The next day was Emporio Armani. I loved their ski, apt for the Alpine range, but the most beautiful part of the show was the R-EA segment. Garments which were made from raw, recycled and sustainable materials. Luxurious fashion reinvented in a contemporary way.
The Alexander McQueen collection consisted of prints derived from sculptor Henry Moore. Embroidered silver metal harnesses, print tailored coats, oversized skulls and cigarette trousers—it was aesthetically delightful.
Collini Milano was a new brand I was introduced to. It is admirable how a controversial topic such as fur has been converted into a sustainable material. The label has an ethical, no-kill fur policy where a 100% of its fur is made of recycled, existing or recycled fur straps. They have further added fun elements of spiked metals, glitter and flashy straps to it. The creative director described it as “an old grandma coat going to the disco!”
Lastly, we need to talk about Gucci, which carried a powerful and meaningful message—learning to unlearn a patriarchal society’s version of masculinity. Alessandro Michele’s fifth anniversary show focussed on celebrating a man who honours fears and its thorns. Through the #RaveLikeAFiveYearOld collection, Gucci promoted its ideals of a man who believes in the possibility of breaking free from any constraints he was forced to grow up with. In my opinion, it was a big step: emphasising an important social issue and trying to empower a whole generation through clothes rather than focussing on inventing another season trend to lock commercial viability.
It would be safe to say that an overall theme of sustainability, love and new-age meaning to masculinity was born and projected through the collections this season.
Now to the food! My other favourite thing in life.
TOP FOUR RESTAURANTS: Canteen Milano, where you find some of the most fashionable crowd of the city, and not to forget the delicious Mexican cuisine it has to offer.
Paper Moon is loved by the Milanese locals and is my favourite place for pizza.
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Sea bass lightly seared in a pan, served with panzanella sauce and coriander shoots. #Milan #finedining #restaurant #hotspot #theplacetobe #foodieplace #food #foodlovers #foodies #foodiesofinstagram #foodiesofMilan #Milanfoodies #foodtrotter #foodhunter #foodheaven #foodspot #Italian #cuisine #style #dininginstyle #papermoongiardinomilano #seabass #panzanella
I recommend Bice for the best Italian and if you end up craving for some Japanese food, then be sure to head to Fingers Garden.
I also enjoy roaming around Duomo di Milano and visiting their local pizzerias–they carry a rustic, Italian feel.
Places to Visit
I was lucky enough to squeeze in some time to visit the Leonardo Da Vinci exhibition. The exhibition is like entering a time-travel machine. Paintings have been digitally restored and there are interactive 3D reconstructions. And of course, you can’t miss out on seeing The Last Supper, a Da Vinci masterpiece at the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie.
When in Milan, I also enjoy visiting the Navigli district. It has a lot of Dan Vinci’s influence and has been modernised with wine bars and is enthralled with activity along its canal. For a casual night of drinks, it’s the place to be.
Unwind at QC TermeMilan, a wellness oasis, with outdoor heated pools offering massages and other treatments. Perfect for some self-care after a hectic week!
Photographs: Rahi Chadda