So… You find yourself in Milan. Oh no – how AWFUL! Now what do you do? Well – here are some tips for you. And please DO NOT try this at home. This is for Milan only darling…

+ Walk the streets. Take in the sites and all the little details that make this beautiful city so friggin’ awesome to visit during the Design Week. Or any time really. But that’s just me.


+ Hang out at the legendary . This place is an institution with a super lush courtyard, restaurant, bar, retail space, bookshop and gallery. Order a super thick hot chocolate, take lots of photos and spot well dressed people.


+ While at , do match you outfit to your friends for God’s sake! Make sure you pay attention to as many details as you can, like the shade and cut of your jeans, the pattern of your shirt, your belt and your shoes (even though they are not shown here). Your canvas bag should be identical to complete the look. Ideally this will happen serendipitously without prior discussion. And do pose for the camera, even though you are really embarrassed.


+ Book a guided tour of the . It is incredible. Achille’s daughter Giovanna talks about her father’s work in architecture and industrial design with so much heart, love and passion in the most incredibly beautiful studio space so rich with history.


+ Eat a lot of gelato.  Seems obvious doesn’t it? But ensure that you are holding a gelato in at least 5 of the photos during the course of your week without having planned for this to happen, ok?


+ Eat fantastic pizza with friends at . Your yummy meal will be complemented with pretty crap service. But hey – you’re in Milan. Get used to it!


+ Consult your map. All the time. Get someone in the group to look confused and scratch their head to really make the whole scene a lot more authentic. Hilarious.


+ Wear silly glasses at a Wallpaper* party (Thanks for the photo Mark). Or just wear silly glasses, cause you’re rich. What the…?


+ Take photos with giant inanimate objects. Pretend you are high-fiving an enormous hand. Why? I don’t know.


+ Go for an aperitivo in the beautiful garden of . If you discover that this is not possible once you get there, ask the friendly hotel concierge to suggest a place to have dinner. He will recommend a restaurant a couple of blocks up the road called  and even book a table for your group of six. Thank you lovely concierge man.

Once you get there, act unsure as none of you will seem to love the look of the place at first and you might even wonder if the food will be any good. But go in anyway, and proceed to have a seriously AWESOME meal. Now – are you listening? This is VERY important. Your waiter – if he is the guy with longish grey hear, acting a bit grumpy (yeah, welcome to Milan) and has a slight attitude going on – his name is Sergio. He is just testing you. Don’t worry – by the end of the night you will become best friends and he will even spoon feed you your desert (I’m serious!) and then proceed to bring out 7 (yes SEVEN) courses of additional desert for you and your friends. And even though you can’t possibly even open your mouth any more (after desert No. 5), he will take sweets out of giant bowls and stuff them in your handbag ‘for later’. INSANE! That’s him in the photo with us. Seriously, go have dinner there. Sergio is the king.


+ Have lunch (and breakfast and dinner) at one of my favourite restaurants in Milan  on Via Tortona. It’s unreal. Ask for their special lunch menu, order my favourite dish Cotoletta Milanese (crumbed veal schnitzel) and watch in disbelief as all your friends order EXACTLY the same thing. No mucking around – NINE schnitzels around the table! Slightly embarrassing yet hilarious. Had to take a photo to prove it.


+ Have brunch at  in Brera. Go there for lazy Sunday brunch. If not, go there anytime man. Just do it. It’s friggin’ AWESOME! Oh, I suggest you like cheese before you go there, k? Duh.


+ It is ALL about colour blocking in Europe at the mo. For real. So… Why fight it? Embrace the trend together with your girlfriend and, when you come across equally colour-blocky installation – have your photo taken. Naturally.


+ Dress up a little. Especially when you are visiting shopping areas and Brera Design District. Actually, dress up everywhere you go and don’t just wear jeans and sneakers even though you really feel like it. Pick up a press kit from  (which I blogged about ) and have everyone think you are some hot-shot that can afford to shop at . It also helps if your outfit coordinates with your orange bag and further enhances the colour blocking trend (refer previous comment). Brilliant!

Now, don’t freak out if some random dude with a giant camera comes up to you and asks you if he can take a photo of you. You see, he is working for , and is on an assignment photographing ‘stylish women who are working in Milan during the Design Week’. Don’t laugh out loud like a dork with excitement (who – me stylish? But I didn’t even make an effort today etc… *eyeroll*), so just act cool and follow him to have your photo taken, knowing you’ll never get to see it cause you don’t really have access to that magazine. Bummer. (Wow, I totally had my photo taken cause I looked stylish. *Does a dorky dance around her living room while nobody is looking.*)

If you are confused about the photo on the left, that’s just there cause I really love pork.


+ Have an aperitivo at the  with friends. Enjoy your delicious complementary food with your extremely expensive yet delicious cocktails in a seriously de-luxe setting. Beautiful. Expect to see a lot of expensive looking people too, many of whom are reasonably easy on the eye or borderline strange looking due to their deep tans and far too much plastic. And no, I am not talking about their Black Amex here.

You may even get to see someone famous.  Ok, I’ll give you a hint…first name starts with Za and ends with Ha.  Last name .


+ Make plans to meet your friends for a late night drink after dinner. Agree to meet at  on via Manzoni. When you get there just after midnight, you shall find out that Nobu is in fact closing. I know – WHAT? Don’t the Milanese party ALL NIGHT or something? It is Friday night after all! Anyway, don’t worry about it cause the next thing you know, a friend of a friend of a friend of a person they are working with will get you into the  which is only just starting to kick off. Just go along and DO NOT FREAK OUT when you see that a 1L bottle of Absolut Vodka costs €300!! Holy $hit!! True story. Just act super cool and pool your €34.75 ea to buy-in for a drink. And don’t you dare dance enthusiastically cause that is NOT cool AT ALL in Milan, k? No. Instead just bop very gently and ensure you hair is still perfectly in place. And NEVER smile. Or, ignore the whole thing and just go sick with your friends in your corner. Up to you. (Thank you for the photo Mark!)

P.S. When you are leaving the club, you need to have some kind of ticket without which they will not let you out. Very important, otherwise you will be stuck behind a metal gate like a little refugee (I can say that, cause I used to be one) and then the whole night could just turn to $hit.  – you have so much to learn about 5-star hospitality. Just sayin’.


+ Stay at for one night and be really excited about it cause you’ve loved it ever since when it first opened . Ask to stay in a ‘Sleeping in a ball-gown’ room (cause you can) and also order their absolutely amazing breakfast and have it delivered to your room in the morning. It will arrive in a beautiful white box and every single thing you taste will be just exquisite. Your expectations of this hotel will be very high, and you will walk away feeling that it certainly isn’t up to scratch for what they are charging. Sure, it’s super fun, in a nice location, has awesome breakfast and really great service. However, as a designer and someone who notices little things, you will walk away with a strong feeling that this place was done by someone who has never designed a hotel before, and has overlooked some crucial stuff. You will still have a bucketload of fun having ‘slept in a ball-gown’. I mean – COME ON!

Oh, and make sure you treat yourself to something very special at the end of your week in Milan. Go on – you deserve it. And Husband insists for this to happen! Then take photos to commemorate the occasion.


+ Last but not least. Get into some world class people watching. I mean – seriously. Would you please take a look at the guy in front of ? These photos were taken immediately after our all-round schnitzel lunch. Thanks very much Amy for the top photo (how awesome is it?) Bottom two photos by Husband. Yes, this $hit is real people!


+ Boys, do not despair. It is not just about good looking, superbly groomed and impeccably dressed men in Milan. Oh not at all. There you shall spot ladies which will make your heart stop. Well, hopefully not literally. And if you are really lucky, you will spot fashion photo shoots everywhere you go. Bellissima! Thanks so much for the photo Jason.


+ Now, even if you are into your leopard print more than you should be, you will find like minded people in Milan. Yes you will. Thank you for the photo Mark.

[ would like to thank all our friends for being such great sports and also the following people for allowing me to use their images in this post – Mark Leib, Amy Wenden, Jason Barry and of-course HUSBAND!]

About The Author

Dana Tomić Hughes
Founder & Editor

Dana is an award-winning interior designer living in Sydney, Australia. With an unhealthy passion for design, Dana commits to an abnormal amount of daily design research. Regular travel and attendance at premier design events, enables Dana to stay at the forefront of the design world globally. While she is super serious about design, Dana never takes herself - nor design - too seriously. Together with her life and business partner, Dana is Boss Lady at Studio Yellowtrace, specialising in Design Strategy, Creative Direction and Special Projects. The studio takes a highly conceptual and holistic approach to translating brands & ideas into places & experiences.

8 Responses

  1. Avatar

    Dana, what a hilarious and succinct summary of the week that was.
    Would prefer to feature without food in my mouth, but it would be difficult considering how much was consumed. Love it!
    s-j x

  2. Avatar

    Stop it, stop it, stop it!!! It’s just too much for one post Dana. TOO MUCH!!!

    You are one very lucky lady indeed. What a great post. Loved it all.

  3. Avatar
    Felipe Bastos

    Hi, Im Felipe Bastos, architect and interior design, and live in Milan. I really liked all those posts about Milan and Salone. I also write a blog about architecture, design, interior, art, Milan’s life. Even I write in portuguese (Im brazilian from Rio de Janeiro) you can change the language above, on the right. I would invite you and everyone here to check it.

    …That pizza looks delicious!


    Ciao a tutti.

  4. Avatar
    Linda from OEKE

    Oh my. That was THE best. Had a jolly old chuckle.
    I fell completely in love with Sergio from the restaurant until you showed that other hunk of a thing in front of the cafe.
    Can’t believe you stayed in the ballgown room too .. how cool.

  5. Avatar

    I have just stumbled on your blog and found this post so fabulous and hilariously entertaining. It looks like a good time was had by all and congrats on the Grazia street style feature

  6. Avatar

    Hilarious. Had a good ol laugh throughout this post. You do have a way with words.
    What a fantastic week!


Leave a Reply