Milan’s Must-See Shoe Stores

Corso Como, 10

Founded in 1990 by Carla Sozzani, sister of Vogue Italia editor-in-chief Franca Sozzani, 10 Corso Como encompasses not just a boutique but a photography and design gallery, a bookstore, a café and even a small hotel co-created with French designer Azzedine Alaïa. Sozzani curates everything in the 13,000-sq.-ft. complex, which is in the inner courtyard of a traditional Milanese palazzo, closed off from the chaos of the city’s traffic. An important collaborator at 10 Corso Como is Sozzani’s boyfriend, American artist Kris Ruhs, who designs jewelry, furniture and objets d’art for the boutique. The store sells men’s and women’s clothing and accessories, hard-to-find imports and must-have luxury goods, including cult fashion brands Ann Demeulemeester and Maison Martin Margiela, furniture by Baccarat and candles by Diptyque. 10 Corso Como also carries a large collection of Roger Vivier and Manolo Blahnik shoes, including the quirkier, harder-to-find styles.

Via Sant Andrea, 1a

Jimmy Choo has made Milan the home of its largest European store. Opened last September, the flagship, located in the heart of the tony Quadrilatero della Moda shopping district, spans 2,500 square feet on two levels. With more than double the space, it replaces a previous location on via San Pietro All’orto. “Our opening in Milan is a significant milestone for our brand,” said Joshua Schulman, CEO of the London-based firm. “Milan remains one of the global cities of reference for luxury retailing, with an exciting mix of local and tourist clients.” The ground floor houses a mix of shoes, handbags, small leather goods and sunglasses, as well as the brand’s new fragrance. The lower level is divided into a series of intimate salons, including a shop-in-shop devoted to the Choo 24:7 collection. The store also features Jimmy Choo’s first VIP room in Europe, offering private wardrobe consultations and bridal services. The design of the space evokes 1940s glamour, with mother-of-pearl finishes, satin wall paneling, crystal-drop chandeliers, oversized furniture and a color palette of ivory, pale rose, sand and lilac.

Via della Spiga, 22

Though Tod’s operates two boutiques in Milan, the luxury label would like consumers to call the Via della Spiga location home. The store is built like a luxurious walk-in closet, with lacquered wood furniture, leather sofas, plush carpets and a coffee table, in hues of ivory, light gray and chocolate brown. Women’s footwear occupies the top floor of the tri-level, 10,000-sq.-ft. store. The ground floor hosts the men’s collection, while women’s small leather goods are on the second. The flagship was redesigned in April 2008 and also features vacchetta leather walls and a glass elevator.

Via della Spiga, 2

When Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana reopened Spiga2 last September, they had transformed the former Dolce & Gabbana location into a showpiece for a handpicked slate of young designers, as well as a few of D&G’s own accessories. Among its 15 choices for spring ’11 are Turkish designer Erkan Coruh and Milan-based Fausto Puglisi, who were feted last Wednesday with an in-store party. But according to D&G, the 500-sq.-ft. space is more than a place to show off the merchandise. They want it to be a place for shoppers to see the next big names in fashion.

Via de Cristoforis, 5

Adidas’  two-floor, 2,100-sq.-ft. Y-3 store opened its doors last November, making it the line’s first dedicated space in Italy. White resin floors, industrial materials and steel fixtures create what the company calls an “ultra-clean” space to showcase designer Yohji Yamamoto’s architectural, sports-influenced footwear, apparel and accessories for both men and women. A spiral staircase connects the floors and the footwear displays. Y-3’s range covers outerwear, pants, tops, skirts and knitwear, as well as a footwear collection of futuristic sneakers, wedge booties and streamlined shoes.

Via S. Andrea, 10/A

Since opening in 2005, Iris Milan has become one of the top dedicated footwear retailers in the city. Owned by Gibo Co., the store stocks a variety of brands including Chloé, Jil Sander, Marc Jacobs, Veronique Branquinho, Rochas and Michael Kors. Retail prices in the 970-sq.-ft. store range from about 110 to 1,000 euros (or $130 to $1,300 at current exchange). Going forward, the retailer said its main focus is to generate 
customer loyalty and repeat business, including improving customer service.

Via Santo Spirito, 3

After a year in Milan, Stella McCartney’s via Santo Spirito location has become a staple in the city’s shopping district. Spread over more than 1,800 square feet on two floors, the store features antique brass sculptures crafted by local metal workers, linen peeled walls and display cases made from eco-friendly wool. The store’s focal point, a patterned oak parquet floor in a palette of plum, pink, blush, nude and taupe, was designed by Yael Mer and Shay Alkalay for Established & Sons, a British design and manufacturing company owned by McCartney’s husband. While the ground floor is awash in color, the second floor is white on white with diamond-shaped ceramic tiles and steel wall fixtures. The store offers the designer’s full range, and shoes are priced from $375 to $745.

Piazza del Carmine, 6

The Marc by Marc Jacobs store in Milan is not only a destination spot for shopping, but also for espresso. Located in a building that previously housed a bakery and coffee bar, the boutique is the only Marc by Marc Jacobs location in the world with a café. Featuring concrete floors, custom-designed steel shelving and neon-signage, the café area and store are divided by a blue glass sliding partition. The company-owned store was designed by architect Stephan Jaklitsch, who recently also designed the Marc Jacobs flagship building in Tokyo. Adjacent to a 15th century church, the 3,132-sq.-ft. boutique is made of 12 adjacent bays, or spaces, which span the entire floor of a residential building. The store stocks the brand’s full range of products, including shoes, bags, small accessories, jewelry, swimwear and books, and 70 percent of the merchandise is exclusive to the store.

Via Ponte Vetero, 1

Antonia Giacinti’s trio of boutiques, for women’s apparel, accessories and men’s product, mix tradition with the avant-garde. Situated in the heart of Milan, the multi-brand women’s apparel store stocks luxury items from established labels such as Givenchy and Versace, and also presents more daring fare, from labels such as Rag & Bone and Stella McCartney. And the same ethos continues in the accessories boutique next door, where fashion-forward heels from Nicholas Kirkwood and Proenza Schouler are displayed on futuristic, modular fixtures next to classic styles from YSL and Balenciaga. While Giacinti is both owner and buyer for the women’s apparel and accessories stores, her husband, Maurizio Purificato, oversees buying for the men’s location. There, brands include Red Wing, Alden, Balmain and Neil Barrett. The store, which is the most recent addition to the Antonia family, was designed by Brescia, Italy-based Studio Dimore, which updates the window displays and fixtures each season.

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