Of the many upcoming events planned for the Vogue-sponsored global shopping push Fashion's Night Out, the debut of Excelsior Milano might make the biggest splash. The work of Italy's biggest fashion retailer Gruppo Coin, the new complex is located right in the heart of the capital of fashion in a former cinema that has been totally renovated by French starchitect Jean Nouvel.
We had the chance to visit the store before the opening to carefully observe every detail. The project is courageous and innovative; there's a lot of empty space, proof of how the management chose to work on quality rather than quantity. Lending warmth and sophistication, the choice of lighting and materials, as well as the rhythm of volumes and surfaces, makes the space feel similar to a private art gallery.
Antonia, well-known for her taste and ability to mix avant-garde and business, is behind the choice of brands, clothes and accessories. As a result, Excelsior Milano perfectly balances the concept boutique with a department store.
On the first floor, the focus is on contemporary American designers (still slightly unknown in Italy) such as Theory, Rag & Bone, Alice and Olive and Vince. Mixed in among the clothing you will find home design by Skitsch and the accessories of Globe-Trotter, Mario Portolano and Antipast, as well as a Borsalino limited-edition made exclusively for Excelsior Milano. Other floors will offer more in the way of the pursuit of excellence with labels including Christian Louboutin, Giuseppe Zanotti, Jimmy Choo, Sergio Rossi, Pierre Hardy and Repetto. Also look out for items by Givenchy, Proenza Schouler, Zagliani, Marni, Chloé and Manolo Blahnik.
In addition, Eat's space is a real surprise—an actual supermarket, with fresh food, meat, fish, vegetables and wines. The restaurant will offer three dimensions, "now" for the elegant take-away, "fast" for the bistro characterized by seasonal specials, and "slow" for the more traditional restaurant, regularly hosting renowned guest chefs like Davide Oldani.
Excelsior Milano opens Thursday, 8 September 2011, and in other Italian cities over the next few years.