10 Corso Como
Tel: 39 02 654 831
Milan's original multibrand fashion store—with the accent on original. Owner Carla Sozzani, sister of Italian Vogue editor-in-chief Franca, has stamped her formidable personality on this protean space, which also includes a bookshop, gallery, café-restaurant and designer B&B, all arranged around a leafy, cobbled courtyard. The boutique offers jewelry, housewares, and high-tech designer gadgets as well as a deft and imaginative selection of the latest men's and women's clothing and accessories by major players such as Prada, Gucci, Comme des Garçons, and Yohji Yamamoto. And pssst: If you'll settle for, or can't recognize, last season's collections, you can get them for half price at the newish outlet round the corner at 3 Via Tazzoli (39-02-2900-2674; open Fri.–Sun. only).
1 Via Ponte Vetero
Tel: 39 02 8699 8340
Antonia Giaenti strides into the forest of fashion on our behalf and comes out with an exquisitely edited selection, which goes on display in her elegant but unfussy boutique in the Brera district. One side is accessories, with desirable bags and shoes by the likes of Marc Jacobs, Valentino, and Gucci; the other is by Chloé, Dolce & Gabbana, Balenciaga, and others.
Like Florence, Milan has a few out-of-town fashion outlet malls. One of the most popular is Italy's first outlet village, Serravalle Designer Outlet, around 55 miles southwest of the city on the Milan–Genoa autostrada. Designed as a twee mock-up of a traditional Ligurian town, the mall harbors more than 180 shops (including Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Versace, Prada, and most of the other big names). Closer to Milan (though it's in another country) is Fox Town (open daily 11–7) in Mendrisio—just over the border in Switzerland—where Gucci, Cavalli, Ferragamo, Prada, Loro Piana, and Missoni all have cut-price boutiques. Expect discounts of between 30 and 70 percent in both places on last season's stock.
12 Piazza XXV Aprile
Tel: 39 02 624 1101
A sort of homegrown Milanese IKEA, High-Tech is a huge furniture, homeware, and stationery emporium housed in the Corriere della Sera newspaper's former ink warehouse. Prices are far lower than in the museumlike design stores around Via Durini, and while you're unlikely to take a sofa home, this is a great place to pick up gifts, from Alessi coffee-makers to Moleskine diaries.
4 Via Statuto
Tel: 39 02 654 278
It doesn't look like much from the outside, but this cramped emporium is a shoe-fetishist's dream. If you know about shoes, you'll know that the selection here is spot on, covering all the bases from more famous names such as Prada and Marc Jacobs to in-crowd designers like Alain Tondowski and Paul Harnden. Think extravagant, dressy, and oh-so-sexy.
9 Via Montenapoleone
Tel: 39 02 7602 2848
It comes as a bit of a surprise to find this venerable coltellinaio (knifemaker) in the middle of the fashion strip of Via Montenapoleone. But Lorenzi, which began life as a humble knife-sharpening workshop in 1929, is actually full of desirable lifestyle accessories, from vintage tortoiseshell combs to silver hip flasks to a set of precision sculptor's chisels. Down the block is a small museum (visits by appointment only) dedicated to a collection of 4,000 antique razors (what the Web site calls "meaningful moments in the history of shaving").
9 Via Spadari
Tel: 39 02 802 3161
One of Italy's great delis, Peck has been tempting local gourmets since 1883 with its hanging ham displays, Parmesan mountains, and shelves stacked high with bottles of tangy green olive oil from all over Italy. Over the three floors of the flagship store you can also find wine, bread and cakes, smoked fish, sauces, and condiments from Modena balsamic vinegar to Cremona mustard, plus an upstairs tearoom that makes a useful pit stop for weary shoppers.
Closed Sunday and Monday.
15a Corso Magenta
Tel: 39 02 869 3314
No frills, no extras, just gloves of every style, color, and size. Leather, suede, chamois-lined, cashmere-lined: You name it, they have it, in this tiny old-fashioned shop on busy Corso Magenta. Prices—on charming handwritten signs in the window—are competitive, considering the quality of the workmanship. A good place to pick up gifts to take home, if you're confident of the size.
In Milan, even top models use the stock houses, the city's discount fashion barns, which are the final resting place of many of last season's unsold garments and accessories. Factory seconds can also make it into the mix, so check carefully for flaws. Discounts of up to 70 percent are often available. One of the oldest and most reliable stock houses is Il Salvagente, which also has a kidswear branch, Salvagente Bimbi (28 Via Balzaretti; (39-02-2668-0764). Neither outlet takes credit cards. Another good fallback is Dmagazine Outlet, which nestles cheekily up against the branded boutiques in the heart of the fashion district. There's another equally well-stocked branch near Porta Genova train station (13 Via Forcella; 39-02-8940-0052).