People come to Milan to shop, and since I live here, anyone I know who’s visiting always asks me for some advice either for themselves, friends or friends of friends. One particular shopping genre that everyone always seems to be on the prowl for is vintage. As I love anything old and second-hand with a story and a soul, vintage does make my heart sing and, so here (in no particular order) are what I think are five of the best vintage stores in Milan. Be warned: visiting any of these stores will you having you longing to play dress up for days to come.
- Cavalli e Nastri If you Google vintage in Milan, Cavalli e Nastri is likely to show up on every list out there, and with good reason. Since 1970, it’s been a place to score top vintage pieces and today is no different, specializing in items from the 50s, 60s and 70s by designers such as Pucci, Hermes, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Chanel, Hermes, Borsalino and more. There’s also some great furniture pieces here, too. (Via Brera 2; +39 02 72000449; Via Gian Giacomo Mora 3; +39 02 49451174 (menswear); Via Gian Giacomo Mora 12; +39 02 89409452; website)
- L’Arabesque: Here you’ll find a nice mix of pieces from the 1920s through 1960s in addition to some contemporary pieces, and it’s great to have all the options in one place. The modern art section showcases 1950s furniture and home decorations. The charming onsite café serves Milanese fare and reminds me of Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks painting. (Largo Augusto, 10; +39 02 7601 4825; website )
- Humana Vintage: This store isn’t 100% Milanese as Humana Vintage existed in Berlin, Vienna, Barcelona, Oslo, Stockholm and Lisbon before opening here in Milan (and now they’re in Rome and Turin), but the concept is super thoughtful so I think it deserves a mention. People donate their vintage clothes and the money from the sales goes to a charity. (Via Cappellari, 3; +39.02.72.08.06.06; website)
- Madame Pauline: I’m a wannabe Francophile so the name me alone makes me swoon. This vintage shop is located on the elegant Foro Bonaparte (which resembles a Parisian tree-lined boulevard) and has that French je na sais quoi touch. You’ll find dresses, jewelry and accessories dating back to as early as the start of the twentieth century from Chanel, Versace, Gucci, Prada, Hermes, Dior and more. All the big names are here. (Foro Bonaparte 42; +39 02 49431201; Tuesday – Saturday, 10am – 2pm; 3pm – 7pm; website)
- Vintage Delirium by Franco Jacassi: Even if you don’t want to buy anything, you must, must visit Vintage Delirium as there’s no other place quite like it. Seemingly hidden in a Brera courtyard, Vintage Delirium is home to a great collection of items that recall every era of the twentieth century as well as contemporary times. Missoni, Pucci, Givenchy, YSL, Balenciaga and more. Don’t miss it. (Via Giuseppe Sacchi, 3; +39 02 86 46 20 76; Monday – Saturday, 10am – 1pm; 2pm – 9pm; closed Sunday; website)
- Honorable mention: Vintage Flea Market on the Navigli: On the last Sunday of every month, the Navigli is lined with bancarelle and vendors selling all sorts of antiques, clothing, objects, accessories, jewelry and curiosities to suit every whim and fancy. There are many treasures to be found, so if you’re in town, don’t miss it. If only just to browse. Just take the metro to Porta Genova and walk up Via Casale. You can’t miss it!