What you can do and what don’t in Milan during Fashion Week. Between fashion show, nightlife and crowded places to avoid, here are 10 local tips.
In Milan which is trendy and teeming with events 365 days a year, Fashion Week maintains its fundamental centrality. Because Milan is one of the capitals of world fashion and the undisputed kingdom of Italian style, made up of design but also food, innovation and, indeed, the most glamorous and creative fashion.
In the week from 19 to 25 September, the collections for the next spring/summer season will be presented, a calendar full of events including fashion shows and vernissages, with the city becoming an important hub for learning about styles and trends. Many of you will be visiting Milan these days, so what to do and what not to do to enjoy the city to the fullest? First of all let's say that for Fashion Week Milan needs space, indeed it is hungry for it, because choosing the right location is an opportunity to always show itself as "new", original, updated and therefore attractive to all those who always ask for something new .
What to do in Milan during Fashion Week, 7 suggestions
In the busy Fashion Week calendar we find classic places such as cinemas and historic theaters next to disused sheds of Milan's industrial heritage, period buildings in the center and ultra-modern suburban showrooms with wallscreen walls.
But be careful to consider the new locations as places for the exclusive use of events, because most of these become trendy clubs and cultural spaces available to people of Milan and travelers all year round. The best way to experience Milan at 360 degrees and follow its mood in real time.
Let's not forget that even the most famous places in the fashion capital participate in the Fashion Week calendar: Piazza Duomo in the space in front of Palazzo Reale, Piazza degli Affari, the young Piazza Lina Bo Bardi at the foot of the Porta Nuova complex which leads to the Vertical Forest and Piazza Gae Aulenti. All locations that Fashion Week uses for fashion shows, so as to make Milan a whole stage!
7. Discover Milan Fashion Week at Isola
Itʼs one of the coolest areas of Milan nightlife. Isola neighborhood was transformed not only as a building area, because the change involved the evenings of the Milanese, especially for the events as the one devoted to Fashion. This year, Diesel, a very well-known underground clothing brand, exhibited in via Valtellina 7.
The more worldly will notice the presence of Alcatraz just close (in via Valtellina 25), one of the most famous nightclub in Milan, but all around there is a flourish of ethnic restaurants, from Mexicali to Uzbek (the only Uzbek restaurant in the city), from Bengali to various Asian fusions and also a new Neapolitan pizzeria, Vulkania.
As for number 7, those in the know will recognize that this is none other than the former Farini railway yard, the largest railway yard in Milan (an area of 400 thousand m2) and today a wonderful location for Fashion Week and, afterwards, major events and concerts. The old railway yard is now at the center of an ambitious renovation and development, including lots of new urban greenery and the Brera Academy Arts Campus.
6. Milan Fashion Week between Solari and City Life
Many fashion protagonists have made investments in Milan, equipping themselves with their own spaces but on some occasions also open to the city. This is the case of Fendi, which has established its representative office in via Solari 35 and it is precisely here that it unveils the new collections of Fashion Week.
But in this building there is also the magical "Labyrinth of Arnaldo Pomodoro", still housed even though the museum of the great sculptur's works has returned to his original studio in via Vigevano. Together Fendi and the Arnaldo Pomodoro Foundation organize guided tours of the great sculptor's "Labyrinth".
Always remaining north of the Lombard metropolis, City Life could not be missing among the fashionable locations, so Ferragamo chose Piazza VI February to exhibit its new women's and men's collection. In this square there is the Palazzo delle Scintille, used as a hospital and vaccination center in the Covid months and once the heart of the old Fair.
5. Milan Fashion Week between Brera and Porta Nuova
Piazza Gae Aulenti
Basque pelota was one of the most popular escape sports after the Second World War. The arenas to play were born for the "cheerful game" ("Jai alai" the Basque name for pelota) between cheering and betting (illegal!), and so in Milan - in via Palermo, in the heart of Brera - the Sferisterio was born with 1,200 seats. Once the sports parenthesis is over, the structure has been dedicated to major events for years and Fashion Week did not miss the opportunity to exploit its efficiency and centrality. This year Missoni and also the Iceberg brand are exhibiting there.
Via Palermo means being a stone's throw from Corso Garibaldi, Brera is a certainty to the south while to the north you look at Piazza XXV Aprile, Corso Como and Gae Aulenti. In short, the most popular and fashionable places of Milanese nightlife, from Eataly to Hollywood, from the arthouse cinema of Anteo to the walks along the BAM, Biblioteca degli Alberi Milano.
4. The locations in the center
Behind the Maggiolina, a renowned residential district, there is Villa Mirabello, chosen by Daniela Gregis for her fashion show during Fashion Week. It is a noble villa from the 1400s which was a hunting reserve for the Viscontis and today a pleasant meeting place for the Milanese with a view of the Vertical Forest. We are in the center of Milan and here a wonderful location is Garden Senato (via Senato 14), with 2,300 m2 of green spaces and covered areas to host the coolest events in the fashion district, but not only that.
Dolce & Gabbana remained at their home instead. Yes, because the location where they exhibited their collections is none other than the Metropol, or rather the former Metropol in via Piave 24, one of the most celebrated cinemas and theaters in Milan with 1500 seats. Today it is the stage for the D&G fashion shows, the two designers wanted it at all costs and had it renovated, embellishing the room without losing anything of the past heritage but adding modern furnishings and precious inserts. Today it is a multipurpose space of incredible beauty, an evergreen place in the heart of Milan.
3. Rotonda della Besana, the place of the "real" Milanese
Rotonda della Besana and MuBa
Let's move south and discover that Max Mara presented its spring/summer 2024 collection in via Besana 12, a location also chosen by other designers. Here there is the historic Rotonda della Besana and today it houses the MuBa, the Children's Museum.
An important place for the history of Milan, indeed there are those who maintain that anyone who does not know the history of Besana is not really Milanese. It was built starting in 1695 and over time it has been a cemetery area, a hospital, a Milanese pantheon in the intentions of Napoleon Bonaparte (but the Austrians thought differently...), and also a barracks and even a hospital laundry. Silent and discreet inside, the Milanese have always driven around it in their cars, but since 2014 the MuBa has also been located in the Rotonda Besana.
2. The Prada Foundation, a cultural hub in the south of Milan
Continuing towards the south of the city and we discover the decisive importance that the Prada Foundation has assumed in re-evaluating a suburban area that seemed abandoned. We are in via Lorenzini 14, behind Piazza Lodi and towards Brenta and Corvetto, and since the Maison chose this area as its new headquarters, the entire area has found new life.
A place for exhibitions and temporary exhibitions, with its own cinema section dedicated to Jean-Luc Godard, Fondazione Prada is dedicating an exhibition to Werner Herzog and Rebecca Zlotowska in September and will host the two artists. Furthermore, from 18 to 29 November it will welcome Riccardo Muti who will rehearse in front of the public and then conduct Bellini's "Norma" at the Foundation's headquarters. Not just fashion therefore, the perfect location for Milanese culture.
1. Milan Fashion Week in the Mecenate area
Milan, via Dante
We are now far from the lights of the centre (above we see a very bright via Dante), but as we know, fashion is made up of trends, of alternative styles that sometimes arise by surprise in the most unthinkable places. This is why fashion loves the suburbs, abandoned warehouses, abandoned warehouses, places that however often return to a second life.
This is the case of via Mecenate, which is increasingly becoming the Milanese hub for TV filming, so much so that RAI has set up its new production center there. Antonio Marras exhibited his women's and men's collections in via Mecenate 84, at Joy Hub.
Nearby there are also the Officine del Volo, another event location, but a short distance away are the Studio Novanta and above all the Fabrique in via Fantoli, perhaps the true antagonist but with the opposite diameter of Alcatraz. Even further south, in via Moncucco 35 near Famagosta, Moschino exhibits. Superstudio maxi is an amazing location, with 10,000 square meters for fashion shows!
What not to do in Milan during Fashion Week, 3 tips
With rare exceptions, the Fashion Week catwalks are reserved for insiders: press operators, testimonials and VIPs who have ties to the brand, but also influencers and important clients. The events are all by invitation, so avoid showing up to the fashion shows without this, it will be difficult to enter. But let's take a look at the top three things not to do during Fashion Week.
3. Avoid the most famous monuments used as locations
Milan, Piazza Duomo 12
Between innovative places and famous squares, following the Milan Fashion Week is therefore an opportunity not to be missed to discover alternative places rather than the most important monuments and places of the city. But the too many events cause that it is preferable to postpone Piazza Duomo, Piazza Affari or the squares of Porta Nuova and other famous places on the days of the fashion show. Not forgetting that the shopping streets of the Italian fashion capital - the quadrilateral - are open.
2. Wait for visit the Prada Foundation or the Pomodoro Labyrinth
To visit the Arnaldo Pomodoro Laboratory at the Fendi headquarters you need to book online. There's no point in doing it during Fashion Week. The same goes for the important cultural center that the Prada Foundation has become: the Progetto Cinema section, now Cinema Godard, is open with its meetings and film club screenings all year round.
1. Museums open all year round
The MuBa housed inside the Rotonda della Besana is one of the youngest museums in the city, but it is open all year round and therefore it is right to avoid it during the weeks of big events such as Fashion Week.