Just a stones throw from Milan’s Duomo is La Rinascente; a shopping destination that you are almost sure to stumble upon if you follow the crowds who tend to walk down Corso Vittorio Emanuele and then stream through the glass doors at three entrance points.This was exactly how I discovered La Rinascente for the first time in December 2010 and since then, it stands out in my mind as the crown jewel of upmarket department stores. In fact, to give the clueless some idea of what it’s like on the inside, I often describe it as “the Harrod’s of Milan”.
During my last trip to the Fashion Capital, I got to meet up with a high-ranking member of staff; the lovely and outspoken Mattea Valletti, who treated me to macaroons and a special dessert concoction of chocolate balls, caramel and coffee topped with foam at the Bar della Rina on the basement level before escorting me on a tour through the eight floors. She explained that each floor was uniquely planned by different architects from around the world and that out of the eleven stores around Italy -including Rome, Florence and Palermo – this 20 000 square meters of retail heaven indeed makes it the flagship store.
Even though I had been to La Rinascente a dozen times often losing myself in this shopper’s paradise, the guided tour put the entire set up into perspective. The ground floor is ruled by beauty products and fragrances with every cosmetics brand here employing at least one professional make-up artist who can transform you in no time but just be sure to make an appointment in advance. While I did have my make-up done professionally at the Dior counter, I tend to gravitate towards the fragrance bar where prices are very affordable and made even more attractive by a delightful addition of freebies (I scored a Bulgari iPad cover :-))
The escalator up will bring you to a balcony of bags. Walk the entire perimeter scouting for sensational designs from every sought-after brand you can think of. See, feel, touch and buy the latest and best from Etro, Louis Vuitton, Valentino and more or simply take a few minutes watch a Gucci master artisan personalize a leather bag in full view of fascinated, fashion-crazed onlookers.
Further up, there are several floors laden with clothing for men, women and children for every occasion including sleepwear, underwear and glamorous evening gowns from Dolce&Gabbana and Roberto Cavalli too, but there are three floors within this amazing complex that I absolutely love! The first is the new floor dedicated to designer footwear where every sensational pair that a girl could hope for can be found right here. It”s almost impossible to leave empty-handed considering that the store brings together the best footwear brands from the Quadrilatero Della Moda and puts them on a pedestal – including Jimmy Choo, Sergio Rossi and Rene Caovilla.
Another floor that will fuel an urge to redecorate displays dishes, cutlery, dinner services, towels in every neon colour and even bed sheets. Lastly – and this is a must-see – is the rooftop where wow factor exceeds all expectations. You won’t go hungry here with several culinary choices begging for your attention including a sushi bar, juice bar, sandwich bar and even an outdoor terrace where you can listen to music and sip cocktails while you marvel at the eye-level marble pinnacles and turrets of the majestic Duomo. Oh and for girls who need some pampering, check out the hair salon on top… 🙂
Find out more about what La Rinascente has to offer.