Category : Milan
For one week a year, each of the world’s fashion capitals are filled with fancy parties, beautiful people and full runways, both at the airport and in multiple venues around the city. Welcome to Fashion Week, where top designers unveil their new product lines and give people a sneak peak at what everyone will be wearing in six months. This is where industry decides what’s “in” and what’s “out” for the season. Fashion Week takes place twice a year, and 2011’s second Fashion Week is in the Fall, from September to October, which is just around the corner. We’ll be covering the four fashion capitals of the world: New York City, London, Milan, and Paris, and we’ll throw in Los Angeles for good measure.
New York has been leading the charge ever since they held the first Fashion Week back in 1943, at the height of World War II. In fact, it was the war which was responsible for Fashion Week’s creation, as it was meant to distract consumers from the fact that those working in the fashion trade were unable to travel to France, making New York the de facto fashion capital for the US. New York’s Fashion Week is also known by the name of its major sponsor, which alternates between Olympus and Mercedes-Benz, with the car company taking its turn in 2011. High-powered media moguls and Hollywood movie stars are in abundance, along with the other 100,000 attendees. Local fashion fans who can’t make the festivities can watch over 150 hours of coverage on local TV channel 25, and of course for out of town visitors, there are hundreds of great New York hotels from which to choose.
The day New York’s Fashion week ends, London’s begins, so you’ll have to catch a quick flight to make both. Organised by the British Fashion Council for the London Development Agency with help from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, London Fashion Week has many organisers, and Mercedes-Benz is also quite present here. London launched its first Fashion Week in 1984, and it presents itself to funders as a trade event attended by over 5,000 press and buyers, with an estimated £40m to £100m trading hands. Foremost among the many Fashion Week venues is Somerset House in central London, where a large marquee in the central courtyard hosts a series of catwalk shows by top designers and fashion houses. Many other venues are also used, so chances are your London Hotel will be close to some events. Spring 2010 also saw London hosting the first Fashion Week to be broadcast live on the Internet.
Established in 1958, Milan’s Fashion Week is put on by the non-profit Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana (National Chamber for Italian Fashion), which promotes the development of Italian Fashion. Here you’ll find Gucci, Armani, D&G, Prada and many other top international designers offering a peek into the future. The major fashion shows for women include Milan SS Women Ready to Wear and Milano Moda Donna. Though you need an invitation to see the catwalk shows, the rest of the city is booming with fashion tourists and there are glamorous parties everywhere throughout the week. One great place to admire the theatrical shop windows, and watch fashionistas and beautiful locals posing as you enjoy cappuccino and biscotti is on the pedestrianised Via Della Spiga. Be sure to book your Milan hotel early, as they can fill up fast.
September 29-October 6
It’s no surprise that Paris, the fashion capital of the world hosts one of the four most important Fashion Weeks in the world. This is the granddaddy of fashion, the city to which everyone looks. Fashion has been a prime cultural export of France since the seventeenth century, and the city of Paris was the inventor of modern haute couture in the 1860s.The city is now headquarters to premier fashion houses Balenciaga, Céline, Chanel, Chloe, Dior, Givenchy, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Hermès, Lanvin,Rochas, Vuitton and Yves Saint Laurent. And Paris’s Fashion Week never fails to impress. Even the venue, the Carrousel du Louvre is beautiful. The dates of Paris’s Fashion Week are always determined by the French Fashion Federation, and Paris is always sure to be the anchor of Fashion Month, always coming at the end. There are many excellent Paris hotels available as well.
But wait! There’s more! Though not one of the Big Four, Los Angeles, home to the world’s largest film and television industry, is also a player in the fashion world, making its Fashion Week more than just an epilogue to Fashion Month. More low-key than its more famous namesakes, this Fall’s Fashion Week has been timed to coincide with LA Market Week, which takes place in apparel showrooms and trade shows at the intersection of 9th Street and Los Angeles Street in downtown LA’s Garment District. One of the more interesting venues is the Sunset Gower Studios, site of the very first movie studio in Hollywood. Some highlights: Simply Stylist, an event for celebrity and editorial stylists; Concept Fashion Week, a downtown indie production, The Green Initiative Humanitarian Fashion Show and The Nightclubbers, an independent fashion/music/art experience at the Avalon dance club. Again, no matter what part of town your hotel is located, you’re sure to be near a Fashion Week event.
If your love of multi-tasking extends to your European travels, then going out to see the opera is a no-brainer. Where else can you experience some of the continent’s most magnificent architectural gems from the inside and be entertained at the same time? And you even get to dress up! Here are five of Italy’s most notable opera houses.
Teatro alla Scala, Milan
Let’s start at the top. The top of Italy (Milan) and, after the Paris Opera House, perhaps the second most famous opera house in the world: La Scala. Opened in 1778 as the Nuovo Regio Ducale Teatro alla Scala (New Royal-Ducal Theatre at La Scala), it has long since shed its long name. Since opening night’s presentation of Europa Riconosciuta by Antonio Salieri (you’ll remember him from “Amadeus”), Italy’s greatest operatic artists, and many from the rest of the world, have appeared on this stage over the last 233 years. And La Scala is still going strong. Home to the La Scala Theatre Chorus, La Scala Theatre Ballet and La Scala Theatre Orchestra, it’s still one of the world’s leading opera and ballet theatres. If you can’t make it to a performance, you can still experience La Scala through its Museo Teatrale alla Scala (La Scala Theatre Museum), which is actually attached to the theatre’s foyer and features paintings, drafts, statues and costumes relating to the theatre’s history. If you plan to stay in Milan, there are many hotels that make visiting La Scala most convenient.
Teatro della Pergola, Florence
Known as one of the planet’s foremost cities of Renaissance art, it’s no wonder that Florence would boast such an amazing Renaissance opera house. The Teatro della Pergola dates back to 1656 when it was built by the architect Ferdinando Tacca, son of the sculptor Pietro Tacca. Like many Florentine icons, the Teatro della Pergola was revolutionary in its design, as it was the first opera house with superposed tiers of boxes rather than the Roman-style raked semi-circular seating that all others used at the time. Considered to be the oldest opera house in the country, the Teatro della Pergola features two auditoriums, the 1,500 seat Sala Grande and the 400 seat Saloncino, which started out as a ballroom and provides a much more intimate experience. Important in the history of Florence, the theatre is also important in music history. This is where the great operas of Mozart were heard for the first time in Italy and was also the site of premieres of the work of Donizetti, Verdi and many others. Set in the centre of the city on the Via della Pergola, La Pergola is also close to many of Florence’s best hotels.
Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, Rome
Rome. The Eternal City. Ironically, the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma is one of the newer opera houses on our list, dating only to the year 1880. Still grand by any accounting, the 1,600 seat Rome Opera House started life as the 2,212 seat Costanzi Theatre and has undergone many modifications and improvements along the way. Many of its performances of note occurred more recently than the Florence and Milan opera houses, from Maria Callas’s controversial performance of Norma in 1958 to the Carlo Maria Giulini-conducted performances of Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro in 1964 and Verdi’s Don Carlos in 1965. If you happen to be in Rome in the summer, you can take advantage of the Opera’s summer venue: The outdoor theatre at the Baths of Caracalla, which feature Roman ruins in the background. No matter what time of the year you visit, there are many Rome hotels from which to choose.
Teatro Massimo Bellini, Catania
Nearly 200 years in the making, plans for what was to become the Teatro Massimo Bellini were first discussed following the devastating earthquake of 1693. Construction began in 1812 and ended in 1890, and now you get to reap the benefits by visiting this 1,200 seat masterpiece. Named for local composer Vincenzo Bellini, it opened with his famous opera “Norma.” The opera house’s relationship with Bellini has continued through the years, with nearly all of his work having been performed here, with Maria Callas performing “Norma” for his 150th birthday in 1951. From the outside, the opera house appears to match the 17th century Sicilian Baroque style of its neighbors, and classic detail continues inside with the plush red interiors and the ornate stucco and marble foyer. Once in the auditorium, look up to see four of Bellini’s most famous operas depicted on the ceiling. After the show, you can retire to your choice of nearby Catania hotels.
Teatro La Fenice, Venice
In addition to being one of Europe’s most famous theatres, the Teatro La Fenice (The Phoenix) is one of its most aptly named. That’s because the theatre has burned down and been rebuilt twice, most recently in 2003, after a 1996 fire. Of course, you’d never know it, gazing up at what seems to be a magnificent 19th century treasure. That’s because a talented team of two hundred plasterers, artists, woodworkers, and other craftsman recreated the original theatre’s ambience in just 650 days… with €90 million. It was well worth it, and the theatre represents Venice’s fierce determination to survive in spite of the elements. Like the other opera houses, the original 1792 Teatro La Fenice also played a major part in musical history, premiering works by Giovanni Paisiello as well as Bellini and Donizetti. Many of the Venice hotels in the area were around to witness this history.
Posted in Barcelona, Belgium, Brussels, Dublin, France, Frankfurt, Germany, Ireland, Italy, London, Madrid, Milan, Munich, Paris, Spain, The UK on 23. Sep, 2010
If you thought that high-end outlet malls were only to be found in the USA, then think again. Less than an hour from nine European cities are the nine shopping venues belonging to Chic Outlet Shopping, known collectively as “The Villages.” Each one is a destination in itself, an open-air shopping Mecca hosting between 50 and 140 European luxury brand outlet boutiques, from Abro to Zoo York. The shops range from European to international, with each also featuring shops representative of the host country. Each is easy to reach from its host city via a shuttle. The store directories and shuttle information can be found on the website for each village.
LONDON (Bicester Village)
Bicester Village offers over 130 outlet stores, all set in the village of Bicester in the heart of the beautiful Oxfordshire countryside. The Village has its own Italian and French restaurants, and also provides the perfect excuse to explore all the attractions of Oxfordshire. London itself is only 60 minutes away, and the shops at the village provide you with up to 60% discounts on the recommended retail price. You can either make Bicester Village a daytrip from your London hotel or stay closer to the action in a Bicester hotel.
DUBLIN (Kildare Village)
Just an hour from Dublin, in the heart of County Kildare you’ll find many horse farms and horse-racing venues. You’ll also find Kildare Village, home to more than 55 luxury boutiques. Kildare Village specializes in providing you with a broad selection of the collections of the previous season in famous international names in both fashion and homeware. Discounts here also reach up to 60% of the retailers’ recommended price. The charming village of Kildare offers one hotel, and nearby villages like Newbridge offer other accommodations. Or you can always stay in the vibrant capital city of Dublin itself.
PARIS (La Vallée Village)
It should come as no surprise that the fashion capital of the planet for the last several centuries would play host to a luxury outlet mall. La Vallée Village is just 35 minutes from the City of Light. And if you need something to calm the kids down while you shop, you can promise them a trip to Disneyland Paris, which is just five minutes away in the neighboring city of Marne-la-Vallée. In the meantime, you can lose yourself among the 90 luxury outlet boutiques where you’ll find low prices on Paris’s finest. There are many Paris hotels, as well as closer hotels in the town of Bailly-Romainvilliers, which plays host to La Vallée Village, and neighboring towns like Magny-le-Hongre and Serris.
MADRID (Las Rozas Village)
Set right between the Spanish capital Madrid and the amazing El Escorial, the residence and final resting place of many Spanish kings and queens, Las Rozas Village offers up to 60% reductions in over 100 luxury outlet boutique shops. Many Spanish brands are represented, along with international stores. The Village is located in the Madrid suburb of Las Rozas de Madrid, which boasts some fine hotels. But if you’d rather enjoy the excitement of the capital city that never sleeps, many Madrid hotels are only 30 minutes away.
BARCELONA (La Roca Village)
Located in the heart of Catalonia, La Roca Village provides not only international designer brand outlet boutiques and not only their Spanish counterparts, but also the unique opportunity to buy from authentic Catalan designer shops. The stores at La Roca Village offer discounts of up to 60%, and the location is also excellent. Only 40 minutes from Barcelona’s vibrant city centre, La Roca Village puts you on the road to the beautiful Costa Brava, so you’d better be sure to buy a swim suit while you’re there. La Roca Village is located in the town of Granollers, which offers a selection of hotels. Or maybe you’d rather spend the night in a hotel or apartment in Barcelona itself.
MILAN (Fidenza Village)
Residents of Milan might take exception to the designation of Paris as the fashion capital of the world. And after a day in Fidenza Village, you might end up agreeing with them. While the shops of Milan itself are notoriously expensive, Fidenza Village offer up to 70% reductions in more than 100 luxury outlet boutiques. The world’s leading Italian and international fashion brands are available, and Fidenza Village is an hour away from both Milan and the exciting university city of Bologna. Milan offers a wide range of hotels that are convenient to the Village shuttle. Or you can stay in the Hotel Astoria or Hotel Fidenza in the town of Fidenza itself.
BRUSSELS (Maasmechelen Village)
Though known more for its chocolates and its beautifully preserved medieval core than for its fashion, the city of Brussels is just an hour’s drive (or shuttle ride) from the 95 luxury outlet boutiques of Maasmechelen Village. Here you can save from 30% to 60% off the recommended retail price on the previous season’s collections from leading Belgian and international names in fashion, homeware and home décor. Set at the beautiful green intersection of Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands, Maasmechelen Village can be combined with many international daytrips. You can use the B&B Basil in Maasmechelen as your homebase, or stay in one of the many luxurious Brussels hotels nearby.
FRANKFURT (Wertheim Village)
One of the business capitals of Europe now offers the opportunity to shop like crazy with the 110 luxury outlets of Wertheim Village 50 minutes away. Like some of the other Chic Outlet Shopping venues, Wertheim Village offers up to 60% off on the previous season’s collections, and like the other venues, you can get access to both international and German companies. Wertheim Village is also located right at the gateway to the famous Romantic Road, making it a convenient stop on your way out of Frankfurt or on your way back in. Wertheim hotels make a great Romantic Road homebase, while Frankfurt hotels put you in the middle of the action.
MUNICH (Ingolstadt Village)
And last but certainly not least are the 100 boutiques found at Ingolstadt Village, which is located just 50 minutes north of all the beer gardens, churches and Bavarian charm of the city of Munich. This lively city also has a thriving cultural scene with more art galleries and theatres than any other city in Germany. The easiest way to enjoy the 60% discounts at Ingolstadt Village is to stay at an Ingolstadt hotel, though the shuttle from central Munich makes it possible to stay in a hotel in Munich.
Bold. Thick. Creamy. KaPOW!
Ok, maybe the last word sounded like an episode of Batman, but one taste of this frozen treat and you’ll be begging for more.
If you have a sweet tooth and need to answer its calling, forgo ordinary ice cream and treat your tastebuds to much more intense flavors of gelato.
Unfortunately, what you pick up in the store pales in comparison to some of the best gelaterias in Italy.
Here’s a short list of some of our favorite gelaterias in Italy:
While we may not be able to tell you where the best gelato in Italy is located (who can, really?), we can point you in the right direction for planning a trip in Rome, Florence, Milan and San Gimignano. Book a hotel, spend some time in Italy and then YOU can be the judge on the best gelato in Italy!