I could get used to the €1 espressos. Dark and heady, Milanese coffees are brewed to a steely perfection — a fragrant mahogany nectar for the gods and an ideal start to a day of endurance shopping in the city’s famed fashion districts.
Milan, home to some of the world’s most revered designers, is synonymous with high fashion. The city is embedded in the very language we use to describe the industry. For instance, the word ‘milliner’, which denotes a person who makes or sells hats, was originally used in London to describe sellers of women’s luxury fashion items imported from Milan, including gloves, jewellery and expensive apparel.
Milanese style — the sharp, assertive lines, emphasis on trim, and bold expressive colours — has captivated me since my first copy of Vogue Italia. This city is not afraid to take a few sartorial risks and it is a pleasure to people gaze while sipping on my umpteenth espresso.
Their daring, almost ambitious approach to fashion quickly takes hold of me. Within a day, I find myself donning stronger, richer colours and dramatically extending the flick of my eyeliner. Make no mistake, Milanese are also well versed in casual wear, but they tend to pair it with a generous helping of Italian glamour . In fact, blinged up designer sneakers and ornate metallic brogues are remarkably prevalent throughout the city.
Even the elderly street performers wear garments adorned with a fanatical level of sparkle. The most memorable is an old man dancing next to the Duomo to some dated pop music, while smothered in diamantes from his shirt lapels to his jeans. Although he had lost most of his hair, he retained a vibrant, unmistakably Milanese attitude, improvising creative dance moves.
I will miss this city and its infectious energy, for there are few places where I have been welcomed with such magnanimity and animation. It’s a city that flies in the face of our modern obsession with stranger danger, instead holding onto our raw human effort to be social, be curious and, of course, be seen.