Welcome to a new Salone. And a Fuorisalone too, obviously. If you are reading this guide, you have probably never been there. So let’s clarify the basic concepts right away, starting with the basic cliché: Milan is the Italian capital of fashion and design.
Like many other clichés, this is all very true: these are two areas that, among other things, perfectly represent the dual soul of the city. On the one hand, Hapsburgic, selective and aristocratic; on the other, enlightened, democratic and welcoming (“he tmoral capital of the country”, they used to call it). And the city’s dual essence is perfectly represented as much by the armored fashion weeks, with their sequined queue propagating on Instagram, as by the widespread, all-access party that is Design Week.
Design Week’s patrons were and are the industry professionals, the students of design schools in and outside Milan, the enthusiasts and the curious, the adamantine category of Milan’s “sciure” - as we call the well-to-do ladies who inhabit the city’s emblazoned neighborhoods such as Brera or Sempione, the embodiment of the urban aristocracy that, as befits the city of Beccaria, participates fervently in its most democratic and popular events.
And then again Milanese people in general, and people coming from Brianza, Lombardy; Italians, European and international tourists; Americans and Asians who for decades swarmed in cabs from Malpensa and Linate airports to get happily lost among the Fair and the streets of Brera. A multitude of strangers who found themselves sharing at the ora feliz the ritual of the open bar.
Milan’s Design Week, historically set for April, had become the big spring festival of the city of Expo 2015, a global event for the 21st Century where design was the lowest common denominator, maybe just an excure, probably no longer the real king of the hill.
All this came to a halt with Covid, which blew off one edition (the 2020 one), and postponed another to September, embellishing it with the bombastic name Supersalone, which took place in 2021 between appreciation for the smaller and thus more “humane” edition, and parallel disappointment at the absence of the pleasant vulgar display of power that Design Week had been able to offer its attendees over the years. The latter in part returned during the 2022 edition, which was held in June with a nice taste of climatic crisis and a scale still reduced from pre-Covid splendor.
This year the Salone returns to its classic dates and the impression is that it will return to involve much of Milan: be prepared for human and vehicle traffic, endless queues, and why not the wonder of a unique week.
For first-time virgins, but also for those who want to brush up on the fundamentals before relaunching into the great bacchanal of design, the gallery contains the key points to present yourself at the event perfectly ready and aware of what awaits you.