Milan, Shopping

Once upon a time, in the pre-euro time, shopping in Italy was so much fun! Nowdays, between the euro hiking up the prices to the across-the-ocean level and globalization bringing the same merchandise overseas, you may as well shop on Madison Avenue.
We started our shopping tour in the quadrilatero della moda, Milan’s upscale shopping district.
Every major Italian and non-Italian designer is represented here. Fun? Not exactly. The stores have the same merchandise and the same prices as their New York counterparts. They are even decorated in a similar manner. Louis Vuitton, for example, has collaborated with Yayoi Kusama, a Japanese-American artist now on display at the Whitney, and decked out its huge Fifth Avenue flagship store in polka-dots, butterflies, and wiggly dotted creepy-crawly thingies. It looks magnificent there, on a huge facade. Here, they used the same design but on a much smaller scale, and with no connection to the exhibit in the faraway New York City, it’s meaningless. Brera, the medieval neighborhood behind the Duomo, seems to have some interesting shops, but we could not find any boutiques with unique merchandise anywhere, just major European and American chains – boring:-(
There are a couple discount outlets in the city. One of them, D Magazine, is smack in the middle of Milan’s Madison Avenue, Via Montenapoleone. It is stocked with major brands at 50% off, but the prices are still steep, hundreds of euros and even more dollars.
Another outlet, Loehmannn’s cousin named Il Salvagente had much steeper discounts on designer fashion, but the available selection did not impress me much. Kenny did well though, and bought several dress pants from Armani to Prada priced at 50 to 70 euro. The neighborhood where the outlet is located is pleasant, residential, with no tourists in sight. The people shopping in the store were Italians and some Russians.
As to the people. I did expect Milan to live up to my expectations as a fashion capital, and was shocked to see how the globalization has changed the world. Women here are still well put together, with makeup and jewelry, but the most prevalent clothing item you see around is….jeans! Not only jeans but, or horror, sneakers! A female in a skirt is a rarity and dresses are practically non-existant! They stil wear very nice tops, although no prints, not even, stripes, mostly black or white, or some natural colors. The most common uniform is nice jeans with a pretty belt, white shirt and a back cardigan. The sneakers are usually not athletic but comfortable for sure. New York has switched to dresses and Italy to jeans! I feel overdressed and too colorful here! Carrie Bradshaw fashion revolution has not happened here!
But even in jeans and casual shoes, the women here are distinctly Italian. They know how to wear their clothes. It does help that they are small-boned, but their bodies look firm and tout and the bellies are totally flat, even though, I am sure, they never see the inside of a gym. Do they even have gyms in this country?


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