The city of Milan’s symbol is, translated from the Latin, a wool-bearing boar, an animal of “double form, here with sharp bristles, there with sleek wool”.
Milan is a city of industry, ruling the Northern engine of Italy with a muscular dynamism. One of the principal products of that sense of power and money, however, is beauty - the sleekest of wool tempering those bristles.
Ferrari, that global symbol of power, style and wealth, is a Northern beast which prowls out of Maranello in Modena to rule not only the streets that were conquered by the Roman legions, but also those far, far beyond. Adorning those suave cockpits and their owners with more Roman sophistication than even the designers at Ferrari could muster is invariably one of Milan’s principal exports - the iconic and luxurious styling of its couture houses.
Milan is not only the undisputed fashion capital of Italy, but also remains - along with Paris, New York and London - one of the most important and influential cities on the global fashion map. The place where fashion calls home in Milan is the one which defines it the most - the Via Montenapoleone Fashion district, or Quadrilatero della moda (meaning literally the quadrilateral of fashion).
A holy space in the cult of high fashion, the Quadrilatero is framed by Via Montenapoleone to the South West, Via Manzoni to the North West, Via della Spiga to the North East, and Corso Venezia ot the South East, which links up again with Via Montenapoleone at Piazza San Babila.
Via Montenapoleone, which also lends its name to the district, is considered to be one of the most important streets in fashion. Almost without exception, the world’s design and fashion giants maintain a major ready-to-wear presence on the quadrilateral - including Dior, Gucci, Pucci, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Ralph Lauren, Versace, Giorgio Armani and Valentino.
So important is Via Montenapoleone and the surrounding district, including Via della Spiga and via Sant’Andrea which themselves house a number of important fashion houses, that a significant number of fashion’s biggest brands have based their headquarters there. It is also the traditional home to Italy’s most exclusive shoemakers, themselves renowned throughout the world like Salvatore Ferragamo, and a host of famed jewelers such as Audemars Piguet and Bulgari.
A historic area of international significance, Via Montenapoleone still manages the rare feat of paying proper respect to the modern world in which we live. Shoppers have all the information and state-of-the-art virtual support a click of a mouse away on the district’s own comprehensive internet portal, which is available in both English and Italian and webcasted using wind energy. This fulfills a profound and admirable sustainable energy commitment shared by the organization and its members, and marks Via Montenapoleone as somewhat unique amongst its peers.
Following the lines of the city walls laid by Emperor Maximian in the Roman Imperial Era, Via Montenapoleone is a vector of history, an arrow that flies from the past and pinions the present. 1783 saw the establishment of the Monte Camerale di Santa Teresa, a financial institution charged with managing the public debt and from which the street took the first part of its name in 1786. The second came about as a result of Milan’s role as capital of the Napoleonic Italian Republic, which saw the bank reopened as the Monte Napoleone in 1804. For the first half the proceeding century, a sustained process of lavish rebuilding left the street with an extraordinary legacy of neoclassical palaces, such as the exquisite Palazzo Melzi di Cusano and the Palazzo Gavazzi, built originally for the cream of the aristocracy.
It is in the timeless elegance of these palaces and in the gilded shadow of history that the oldest and biggest names in style dress the most stylish customers in the world, making Via Montenapoleone a fashion heaven of which shopping dreams are made.
- Ben Stewart
Address: Milan, 20121