MI­LAN ÉLAN

Thanks to an ar­ray of bright young tal­ents, Mi­lan is en­joy­ing a new­found vi­brancy. Alexan­dra Mar­shall checks out the scene. Styled by Gian­luca Longo. Pho­tographed by Guido Ta­roni.

VOGUE Australia - - Beauty -

For ro­mance and al­lure, Italy’s troika of mu­seum cities, Venice, Rome and Florence, has al­ways reigned supreme. Mi­lan might be the coun­try’s most cos­mopoli­tan city, but with post-war fa­cades as grey as its skies, it’s long been con­sid­ered a place of drudgery: good for the lux­ury busi­ness – Prada, Gior­gio Ar­mani and Kartell are just a few of the mega firms based there – but stunted by a cor­po­rate, hide­bound and hi­er­ar­chi­cal cul­ture. Sure, the Fon­dazione Prada has fa­cil­i­tated a wor­thy di­a­logue with con­tem­po­rary art since 1993, and the Salone del Mo­bile fur­ni­ture fair has be­come as glam­orous as Art Basel, with nearly 10 times as many vis­i­tors. But com­pared to cities like New York or Lon­don, Mi­lan has tra­di­tion­ally been seen as un­wel­com­ing to up­start cre­ativ­ity. In one of the world’s most im­por­tant fash­ion cap­i­tals, new brands didn’t catch on much and young tal­ent was largely ab­sorbed by big houses or set up shop abroad. Trav­el­ling ed­i­tors and buy­ers on the look­out for in­die de­sign­ers knew they could sleep in a lit­tle late dur­ing Mi­lan fash­ion week.

But now, for what seems like the first time in decades, they are set­ting their alarms. Young fash­ion com­pa­nies are thriv­ing. Up-and-com­ing de­sign firms and ar­chi­tects are cut­ting through Ital­ian tra­di­tion­al­ism with eclec­tic spa­ces like Luca Cipel­letti’s mas­sive, on­go­ing over­haul of the Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Tec­nolo­gia Leonardo da Vinci, which layers new builds and con­tem­po­rary ren­o­va­tion on top of his­tor­i­cal struc­tures from the 16th to 20th cen­turies. Bru­tal­ist and Fas­cist- era ar­chi­tec­ture have made a come­back, bring­ing in­ter­na­tional taste around to where Mi­lan has been for decades. “Mi­lan has the best ar­chi­tec­ture of the 20th cen­tury,” Cipel­letti says. “It was so for­ward-look­ing at the time that it wasn’t re­ally un­der­stood. Now it’s con­sid­ered, like, wow.”

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