As a graduate in ‘Scenografia’ from Istituto Europeo di Design in Milan, Emma Elizabeth is a highly innovative designer, curator and stylist who fuses interior design, industrial design and set design in her freelance practice. Through her annually curated production of ‘Local Design’ which focus on the best of Australian design talent during Milan Design Week , Emma is often in Milan, a city that feels like home. We tap into Emma Elizabeth’s best-of in Milano.
Describe Milan in 5 words:
Hidden, inspiring, effortless, captivating, cutting-edge.
What are 5 items you must pack for a stylish and comfortable trip to Milan?
In order to pound the pavements and see as much as possible, you need a comfortable pair of Marni’s that see you from day to night, along with a Balenciaga bag that becomes cross body once made possible with a Fendi strap. An Ellery black jacket adds just the amount of frill you need, to go over your pleated/perforated Dion Lee dress. Valentino layered studded cuffs then punctuate the look.
What 3 beauty products would you recommend to pack for this destination, and why?
I am a La Prairie lady, the anti-aging day cream with UV filters helps rehydrate you after long flights and long days, along with the crème caviar eye cream. Along with a couple of Dermalogica daily resurfacer sachets to reinvigorate your skin after long days of searching for the ultimate design finds.
Where would you recommend people stay when visiting, and why?
Senato Hotel run by the fourth generation Milanese entrepreneurs, Ranza family or Room Mate Giulia designed by Patricia Urquiola are both super central to the Duomo and close to the go to shopping strip Via Monte Napoleone.
What is your favourite restaurant in town, and why?
My all-time favourite is Giacomo Bistro, I love the quintessential Milanese interiors, food and service, yet on my latest trip I went to a new restaurant that is hidden amongst the back streets of Navilgio/Ticinese Al Cortile, by director of the Food Genius Academy school of High Cuisine, Desiree Nardone.
Italians do the simplest of dishes well.
What’s your top five for…
Cocktails or drinks: 10 Corso Como
A long lunch: Café’ Trussardi
A quick bite: Obica’
A fine dining experience: Ceresio 7
What’s the most Instagram friendly spot in town?
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, the iconic roof top is an Instagram go to, along with terrazzo floor.
Best place to take a stroll and see the sights?
On the weekend, the Naviglio plays host to a series of different markets. The flower markets take place once a month, so if you’re lucky enough to be there on that weekend, an early stroll before the crowds is a must. Or even a walk through the gardens near the Castello, allows you to take in the calm of the city before the hustle and bustle begins.
What is the one experience, unique to Milan, that you can’t have anywhere else in the world?
The effortless sophistication of the people and their spaces/design, more so seen in the older generation, to sit back and watch the people interact and make moments within the streets and interiors, is the most unique aspect of Milan.
Outline your itinerary for the perfect 24 hours:
Straight to 10 Corso Como to view the store, gallery and have a cocktail no matter what time of the day it is.
Take in two galleries the Triennale and Fondazione Prada, as there are always interesting exhibitions throughout the year. Lunch at Café’ Trussardi, then a stroll through Brera, then hit the shops on Via Monte Napoleone, Fendi and Marni are my go to’s then a quick rummage through DMAG. A peruse through Nina Yashar’s Nilufar Gallery on Via della Spiga, then stroll down to Naviglio to pop into Antonioli, then to meet friends at Trattoria La Madonnina.
What are your top 3 must-visit cultural hot spots?
During Salone, Milan Design Week, all the Palazzo’s open and there is creative cultural overload, but off the design week trail. Pirelli Hangar Bicocca is a must see the scale of the old airport hangar is incredible along with the art it showcases throughout the year. Villa Necchi Campiglio, where you can have your Tilda Swinton, I Am Love Moment and take in the beautiful villa and even have a little lunch in the green house. A stroll from 10 Corso Como is the Gucci Wall, always a hand painted mural of their recent advertising campaign.
Where are your top 3 places to shop, and why?
10 Corso Como as the edit and layout has remained impeccable, I remember going there as a student when I was 18 not being able to afford to buy anything so it’s good to go back now and make a little purchase. Antonioli, near Naviglio has unique pieces from major brands like Balenciaga, CK, Commes Des Garçons, in its slick black interiors it leaves you inspired to take risks in your wardrobe. Fendi, I am a Fendi addict, it’s my go-to store in Milan.
What local buys would you recommend bringing home?
There are some great Milanese brands with little stores hidden around Brera, along with major brands like MSGM, I think it’s about the thrill of the find, with unique vintage and antique treats to be found within this district. Along with a great street magazine stand, if I could bring every interior and fashion magazine home from this street stand I would.
What’s your go-to outfit for a day of sight-seeing?
My pony haired Tod’s angle boots that I have had for years, those rubber soles just keep on going. Helmut Lang leather pants, Alexander Wang basic t-shirt and my vintage metallic Burberry trench. With my cross-body Marni trunk bag with just cash, cards and phone so that you don’t get back fatigue from carrying so much around.
Anything visitors should avoid or be wary of when visiting?
If you are there for design week then be prepared, the crowds are swarming, attendance for design week was up 180% this year, so you need to make restaurant bookings months in advance, along with accommodation. Don’t even think about bringing a pair of heels, and vitamin b / Armour Force is your best friend as you are on your feet from the morning until the early morning the following day.
Most useful phrase to learn (if overseas)?
Grazie Mille (thank you very much) or Sono da Australia (I am from Australia).
What is the song that best encapsulates Milan to you?
“Don’t Worry About A Thing” by Bob Marley.
Soundscape artist Mason Mulholland created our exhibition hour mix this year, with one of the last tracks getting me skipping each day – Capito O No – Ron Hai.
Keep up with Emma Elizabeth’s design travels @emmaelizabethdesigns
The Packing List: