Smaller than London’s Harrod’s (in size only) but equal in brand selection and exclusivity, La Rinascente at the centre of Milan is much more than a shopper’s paradise. I consider it the essence of the Fashion Capital housed under one roof.
Here are 10 reasons why I visit La Rinascente again and again…
1. Sip a BDR
Named after the Bar Della Rina at the foot of the escalator at the basement level, the BDR is a dessert coffee sweetly constructed with layered chocolate balls, coffee and caramel. Savour it with a slice of wholesome plum, banana and nut cake which together should give you all the energy and nutrients you need to tackle the floors above.
2. Giggle at the quirky gadgets and gizmos
From extra-large pencils, manicure sets and smartphone holders to denture-shaped ice moulds, cupcake lip gloss and funky notepads, you could pass an hour just fiddling with these entertaining goodies in the Design Supermarket. These make quirky, affordable gifts but with such a vast assortment, you could be more than a little confused. The trick is matching items to personalities’ likes, interests and hobbies. Either way, you can’t go wrong… Before you pay, check out the lighting corner lit up with stunning appliances from desk lamps to chandeliers and get a Pantone mug in your favourite colour.
3. Get your make-up done for FREE!
Yes, you can! And it’s as easy as walking over to your favourite brand’s cosmetic counter on the ground floor and asking! Whether you prefer YSL, Dior, Mac or even Guerlain, there will a professional make-up artist on standby to transform you into a flawess cover girl and highlight your best facial features using the latest and best products on the market. I was so impressed with my make-up that I decided to own Guerlain’s compact foundation powder ‘Gold’ and bronzing powder ‘Terracotta’.
4. Browse the bag balcony
Whether or not you’re in the market for an exquisite new bag, the balcony – just one flight up – is spilling with the trendiest heart-wrenching products from every designer brand that matters; Dior, Louis Vuitton, Stella McCartney, Bottega Veneta, Ralph Lauren, Rodo, Dolce & Gabbana, Fendi, Valentino and more… You will fall in love with more bags than you can carry, plus having such a wide selection under one roof saves you time and effort.
5. Check out the kids’ accessory corner
Got a little prince or princess who rules your heart and your wallet? You will stop at nothing to style ’em up with the cutest little hair bands, ties, belts, socks and swimsuits in the kids’ accessory corner. When you’re done “ooh-ing” and “aah-ing”, explore the rest of the dainty dresses, miniature trousers, shirts and adorable shoes by big brands; Gucci, Monna Lisa and Miss Blumarine.
6. Satisfy your shoe fetish
I call it Shoe Heaven; 800 square metres dedicated to exclusive ladies’ footwear from well-known ‘Made in Italy’ brands; Rene Caovilla, Salvatore Ferragamo, Sergio Rossi, Jimmy Choo and sooo many more… Then there are equally spell-bounding pairs by up-and-coming artisans; Tabitha Simmons, Alexander Wang and Sophia Webstor which will beg to be bought. Try them, buy them and get your tax back at the refund office on the traditional homeware level higher up.
7. Buy a house-warming something…
You don’t have to a be house-proud home-owner to thoroughly enjoy a stroll through the Traditional Homeware level because there’s something extraordinary about every knife, pot and platter which could inspire redecorating within the simplest of living spaces. A paper-towel holder becomes an animated feature, arty spoons start conversations and even bedrooms can boast new woven linen by Missoni.
8. Buy a chocolate shoe
They’re way too beautiful to eat, but hey, these detailed edible crafts on display on the top floor sure do make gorgeous souvenirs. You will have a tough time deciding on one particular shoe, dark or white chocolate, stiletto or men’s moccasin, but whichever amusing design you pick, it will be carefully boxed for easy transportation and impressive presentation. Oh, and there are chocolate handbags to match…
9. Get your hair celebrity-styled
As a one-stop-shop for just about everything beautiful and exclusive, it’s only fitting that La Rinascente’s premises is crowned with an equally prestigious hair salon. Aldo Coppola, named after Milan’s famous hair-styling genius, will see you leave looking like a celebrity. Sit back, relax, enjoy the view of the Duomo’s marble spires and surrender with complete confidence to their expertly-trained staff who will revive limp hair with their home-brand of treatment products before analysing, cutting and manipulating your locks. Pop in to book an appointment or just check with Monica Coppola, daughter of the founding father, if she can slip you into her busy schedule.
10. Aperitivo and a photo on the terrace
At the end of a shopping spree across this multi-brand store, there’s nothing more relaxing than sprawling on the terrace at the top floor and imprinting a close-up of the majestic Duomo’s spires in your mind. The view is simply breath-taking from up here and the La Rinascente terrace is the only one in this vicinity which allows you free access – even if it’s just to take in the view. While you’re up there, capture the moment with a photo and participate in the famous Italian ‘Aperitivo’ tradition of afternoon eats and drinks.
For more information, visit the La Rinascente website
M1 – Duomo