Giorgio Armani in Via Montenapoleone, Milan

A short side-trip to Milan just after Christmas gave me the opportunity to visit what Italians call il Quadrilatero della Moda – a group of four shopping streets in downtown Milan that feature just about every major fashion and luxury brand known to man, and then some.

Naturally since Milan is the central city in the Armani story, this was an opportunity to check out some of the cornerstones of the Giorgio Armani empire, including the hometown Giorgio Armani boutique on Via Montenapoleone itself – although initially I visited the large Emporio store on Via Manzoni and was directed to the boutique after asking about Giorgio Armani jeans (more on the Emporio in another post).

The boutique building, which stands apart from the rest of the street, is similar to Ginza in that the entire building is dedicated to Armani, but in this case it is not a multi-brand megastore; this is a purist GA boutique on all floors.

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Externally it is a graceful presence, with a serene little courtyard off to the side with very nice lily ponds that create a very soothing and literally reflective mood.

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Inside it is standard Giorgio Armani decor, with a huge number of staff on hand to handle customers – in fact it was a little intimidating being watched by so many people. But I imagine they do get flooded with customers, especially around the major fashion weeks, and there is one coming up in a couple of weeks, about which I hope to have some exciting news in a couple of days – stay tuned, it’s hopefully a great little story.

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It is a fairly big store, but not as spacious as London, and I was surprised and a bit disappointed by the range available – for example they didn’t seem to know about the limited edition cashmere jeans, with a discreet black leather embossed label, I had seen a couple of weeks earlier in Munich, which really surprised me for a flagship store in the home city about 500m-600m from the headquarters building in via Borgonuovo.

The SS13 collection is starting to gather some momentum and there are more pieces showing up in the stores now. I didn’t see anything I wanted on this visit, and think I detected a move towards slightly flashy customers in some of the new pieces. In the end I was a little let down to walk away having bought nothing at all, as I have been looking forward to this visit for a couple of weeks and we are at peak sale period – 40% on the FW12/13 season is pretty much standard.

I’ll be updating a few posts about other aspects of this trip to Milan, as well as an update from Florence where I had an excellent visit and bought a bunch of new stuff from both FW12/13 and SS13. Honestly it’s a mystery to me why that didn’t happen in this Milan store a few days earlier.

Meanwhile Happy New Year from a now one-year-old Becoming Armani Man blog.

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