First a little shopping, then a superb lunch: Dolce & Gabbana, Giorgio Armani and other fashion designers are now opening bars, cafes and restaurants as well as new boutiques in Milan. And they’re just as chic as the shops.
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Catwalk Milan: Armani, Gucci and Versace – all the big names have outlets close to the cathedral and are easiest to get to on foot. But now the designers are looking beyond fashion and branching into frothy cappuccino and sparkling spritz (Italy’s popular evening cocktail of white wine, water and Aperol) in their desire to satisfy their pampered customers’ every need and whim.
Alessandro would make a fantastic model. He’s tall and slim with a cool hairstyle, high cheekbones and eyes that would melt any heart. But instead of strutting his stuff on the catwalk, he stands behind the gleaming black counter of Dolce & Gabbana’s Martini Bar. The bar is in the Milan-based fashion empire’s signature eccentric style:
black walls, leather sofas, blood-red napkins and a red-gold dragon crawling here and there across the mosaic floor. Victoria and David Beckham, Naomi Campbell and Boy George count among the bar’s favored guests.
Fashion meets café
Milan Cathedral, built between the 14th and 19th century, is the world-famous landmark of Italy’s fashion capital. Today, all the biggest fashion labels – Armani, Gucci, Versace and the rest – have set up shop just a stone’s throw away.
Eccentric chic: The interior of Dolce & Gabbana’s Martini Bar is done out entirely in pitch-black and blood-red. The decor clearly appeals to celebrity guests like Victoria and David Beckham, Naomi Campbell and Boy George.
Tall windows and a cool designer interior: The summer terrace of Café Trussardi stands in clear contrast to the neighboring Classical building, the famous La Scala opera house. The cuisine at the café’s sister restaurant, Il Ristorante Trussardi alla Scala, is equally purist – and worthy of its two Michelin stars.
Everyone can do a café! - dachte sich der Mailänder Modekönig Giorgio Armani und schuf auch noch ein Restaurant, einen Nachtclub und einen Einkaufspalast. Für 2010 bereitet er jetzt die Eröffnung seines Armani-Hotels vor.
Armani wanted, as he put it, “to create another space that would mirror my sense of beauty and style”: the Emporio Armani Caffè on Via Croce Rossa.
Pass beneath the imposing portal to reach the small, round bar of designer duo Dolce & Gabbana. Trendsetters even come for breakfast.
Martini Bar, Corso Venezia 15, Tel. +39-02/76 01 11 54. Open Monday through Saturday 10am-10pm. www.dolcegabbana.it/martini
Just two handfuls of tables outside the Gucci store in the elegant Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, really. Cappuccino and prosecco come with pepper or cinnamon-flavored chocolate candy.
Gucci Café, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Tel. +39-02/72 52 41. Open Monday 12 noon-5pm, Tuesday through Friday 9am-5pm, Saturday 10am-6pm. www.facebook.com/guccicafe
The Japanese-inspired Nobu restaurant, Emporio Armani Caffè and restaurant, and the exclusive Club Privé are among the exclusive attractions of the Armani palace.
Emporio Armani Caffè, Via Croce Rossa 2, Tel. +39-02/62 31 26 80. Open Monday through Saturday 7:30am-11:30pm, Sunday 9am-9pm (Opening times apply to the bar of Emporio Armani Caffè, for further details, please visit the website). www.armani.com/lifestyle
The café is a popular place to discuss business over a cappuccino, aperitivo or light lunch. If gourmet food is more your line, try the restaurant on the next floor.
Trussardi alla Scala, Piazza della Scala 5, Tel. +39-02/80 68 82 01. Open Monday through Friday 12.30pm-14.30pm, Monday through Saturday 8pm-10.30pm. www.trussardi.com/food/trussardi_alla_scala_restaurant.html
This extravagant club/restaurant inside the Torre Branca tower in Sempione Park was originally styled by fashion designer Roberto Cavalli. Now architect Daniele Bereta has given the interior a complete makeover. High “VIP density”!
Just Cavalli Hollywood, Via Luigi Camoens c/o Torre Branca Milano, Tel. +39-02/31 18 17. Open daily 8pm-3am. www.justcavallihollywood.it
pictures: getty images (2); PR