Where The Style Set Go During Milan Fashion Week

Milan has never been as high on your must-visit list than now, with its Fashion Week becoming one of the most innovative destinations for indie brands, and its upcoming World Expo in 2015 (from May 1st to October 31st, if you're planning ahead!). The vintage palaces are getting spruced up, the bistros are getting a modern infusion, and the boutiques are being redefined by the new school of Italian designers. The mix of tradition and invigoration is palpable, and the old-world city is exciting like never before. Want to experience it like a real Milanese (even if you're just there for Fashion Week)? Here are the must-see spots.
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Photo: Courtesy of Ceresio 7.
For an upscale dinner: Ceresio 7

This new hotspot has everyone swooning, starting with the very chic Tiziana Cardini, fashion director of La Rinascente and contributor to Vogue Italia. Ceresio 7 has been imagined by Dimore Studio, the hottest design team in Milan. "It's one of the many new buildings designed by prominent architects in the city," says Cardini. A fabulous terrace, two swimming pools, and stunning views of the new Milanese landscape are the main attraction. Conveniently located near shopping mecca 10 Corso Como, Ceresio 7 occupies the top of the historical Enel building, home of the Dsquared2 group. Facing the new Financial District, the restaurant on the terrace is helmed by chef Elio Sironi, an advocate of simplicity and healthfulness.

Ceresio 7, Via Ceresio, 7; +39-02-310-392-21.
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Photo: Courtesy of Pisacco Restaurant & Bar.
For a healthy lunch: Pisacco

Finding a fast, healthy meal in between fashion shows in Milan used to be a challenge. Kudos to Pisacco, which has solved the problem with its whimsical setting and smart menu of modern Italian cuisine. Located in the heart of the fashionable area of Brera, this fancy two-story bistro specializes in simple, fresh, and seasonable ingredients in their purest form. Of course, there's traditional dishes galore (namely, the to-die-for spaghetti with tomato and basil in a buffalo milk mozzarella cream sauce). There's also plenty of tapas-style plates to nibble on at the communal table in the bar area, including the finest Parmesan or Pecorino.

Pisacco Restaurant & Bar, Via Solferino, 48; +39-02-9176-5472.
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Photo: Courtesy of Bar Basso.
For a nightcap: Bar Basso

In Milan, it's always time to hit a vintage café or bistro for a glass of Pinot Grigio or Prosecco. Among the favorites of the fashion set is Bar Basso. It's a celebrated landmark and historical cocktail den, and the supposed birthplace of the Negroni Sbagliato. Here, you'll find the fashionistas discussing their favorite designers of the season, including the latest Milanese darlings like Massimo Giorgetti of MSGM, Fausto Puglisi, Stella Jean, Andrea Incontri, and Arthur Arbesser.

Bar Basso, Via Plinio, 39; +39-02-2940-0580.
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Photo: Courtesy of Aldo Coppola.
For a perfect cut and massage: Aldo Coppola

Milanese were thrilled when Aldo Coppola opened last November, as the city was somewhat lacking when it came to fashionable high-end hair spas. Invented by the late hair artist Aldo Coppola, the aptly named Aldo Coppola Kingdom of Beauty is a 10,000-square-foot temple of decadent pampering, spread out over three floors. Decked out in white Carrara marble, with splashes of red and mosaic recreations of Oliviero Toscani's iconic photos, the spectacular space was designed by the great Marcel Wanders. In addition to the hair salon, six circular cabins are dedicated to other beauty treatments, from massages to manicures, using products by Valmont and Shani. Our favorite part: the foot massage chairs, perfect for a blissful post-shopping reflexology session.

Aldo Coppola Kingdom of Beauty, Corso Europa, 7; +39-02-7628-0558.
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Photo: Courtesy of Romans Club.
For a stylish workout: Romans Club

Maintaining your workout routine while visiting Milan is a cinch thanks to this high-tech gym, which offers state-of-the-art equipment and an overall wellness concept. The cardio machines are Internet enabled, so you can surf the web or catch up on emails while running. But, what really got us is the isotonic equipment by Technogym (Kinesis Stations) and the TRX suspension training (Queenax), which maximize the efficiency of your exercises while minimizing impact on your joints. Post-workout, the Otium Area boasts saunas, thalassic steam baths, and cold mists and ice waterfalls to help you recover and relax while essential eucalyptus oils permeate the air.

Romans Club, Corso Sempione, 30; +39-02-8706-9980
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Photo: Courtesy of Wait and See.
For designer shopping: Wait and See

Of course, you should start by visiting the landmarks — namely, the department store La Rinascente (Piazza Duomo) and concept store 10 Corso Como. But, you'll also want to save some time to hit up this boutique. Proud of its eclectic selection, Wait and See is a fun mix of unexpected and independent, not-to-be-missed brands. Housed in an 18th century former convent, the lifestyle store is the brainchild of fashion veteran Uberta Zambeletti (formerly of Missoni and Max Mara), who believes that luxury is not dictated by price. Hence, price tags start at $1, and never exceed $750. Wait and See also offers a stellar collection of vintage pieces, picked up in locales ranging from the UK to France to Finland to California.

Wait and See, Via Santa Marta, 14; +39-02-7208-0195.
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Photo: Courtesy of 10 Corso Como.
For a high-end fashion experience: 10 Corso Como

One of the most respected temples for luxurious international fashion remains the stunning 10 Corso Como complex, created 23 years ago by Carla Sozzani. It has since expanded to Seoul, Shanghai, and Beijing, but a visit to the original Milano location is a must. One can easily spend a whole day here, browsing through racks and shelves loaded with the most prestigious designers (including the best selection from Alaïa, a great friend of the owner), as well as designs from one-of-a-kind collaborations like Zaha Hadid's futurist high-heels for United Nude, or Jean Nouvel's sneakers for Ruco Line. Don't skip the art bookstore and gallery, and stop by the peaceful courtyard garden cafe for lunch. Oh, and did we mention that Corso Como is also a three-room hotel?

10 Corso Como, Corso Como, 10; +39-02-2900-2674.
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Photo: Courtesy of Grand Hotel Milan.
For a grandiose night: Grand Hotel Milan

After celebrating its 150th anniversary last year, this historic palazzio — home to Verdi for 20 years, and also to Wagner and Nureyev — has been revamped by the hip Dimore Studio di Milano. Just a short walk from the financial district, the La Scala Opera House, the fashion area, and the Duomo, the landmark mansion offers 72 rooms and 23 suites, including Maria Callas' and Luchino Visconti's, favorites of the fashion insiders. Weather permitting, be sure to save time for a meal on the veranda at the Caruso Restaurant and Bar.

Grand Hotel Milan, Via Alessandro Manzoni, 29; +39-02-723141.