After two decades in Milan’s spotlight designing clothes, the most fashionable girl in town has decided to decamp—if just temporarily for New York. “I always said I wanted to leave Milan and now that it’s time, I don’t want to go,” says Alessandra Facchinetti, the former Creative Director of Gucci, Valentino and Tod’s. “I’ve become so affectionate of it.” Over the years, she’s amassed a band of local and loyal Milanese shop owners who stoke her creativity and of course, call her up when anything of jaw-dropping importance has hit their shelves. Here we catch up with Facchinetti on her private rolodex of insider knowledge; all of nooks and crannies of the city, including the secret spots for her gorgeous chandelier earrings, her beloved paper notebooks, her signature fragrances and how she get those eyes so smoking hot!
Best Antique Chandelier Earrings
Oro incenso e mirra
Giovanna – the owner – is very chic and looks like a Fellini woman in her big hat. She has the most amazing taste and I’ve bought almost all of my earrings there. I go there on Saturday mornings when she is surrounded by friends. They drink coffee and chat jewelry. It is a very Milanese scene.
Address: Via San Fermo della Battaglia, 15, 20121, Milan
Best Antique Shop
They sell jewelry, objects, paintings, and sculpture. They have a nice eye for finding things that you don’t see in other places and mixing them.
Address: Via San Giovanni sul Muro, 17, 20121, Milan
Best Stationary Shop
I am obsessed with journals, diaries and agendas and this place has this best. I write a lot, so when I go around, I use at least three at the time, separated into topics. I like soft cover ones that can be bundled.
Address: via Brera, 6, 20121, Milan
Without a doubt. My closet is full of them. When I was working at Prada, I learned how to mix things. How to make wrong matches and never have rules for dressing. It was incredibly lucky to work with Miuccia.
Address: Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, 63-65, 20121, Milan
Best Hair Stylist
Davide always does my hair. I have known him since 1994, we had some friends in common and he was just starting his business. He was the only one that could convince me to cut my hair into a bob, I liked it then but I prefer longer hair. This [black, gorgeous raven hue] is my natural hair color.
Address: Via Torquato Tasso, 4, 20123, Milan
Best beauty store
This is the only place in Milan to get my other beauty staples, like Chanel creams. They have a big assortment of just the right product.
Address: Corso Monforte, 2, 20122, Milan
How to Get Alessandra’s Famous Smoky Eyes
I go to MAC for most of my makeup products: my foundation, blush and small eye pencils. For the shadow, I use Chanel in a grey, brown or black tone all over the top lid, it’s very soft so you can make it smoky. I use Rimmel or YSL for the black mascara. Under the eye, I use eye shadow, never liner or pencil. I put it outside of the rim. The lips are always naked. This has been my look since I was 16 years old. I’ve never changed it.
Address: via Fiori Chiari, 12, 20121, Milan
Best Perfume Store
I always mix at least three fragrances, starting from Lorenzo Villoresi’s Teint de Neige, a Florentine artisan and historic bespoke chef for perfumes that I love. The mix depends on the day. This shop has very refined fragrances like Le Labo – they are incredibly good.
Address: Via Brera, 6, 20121, Milan
Foglie Fiori e Fantasia
The owner, Margherita Angelucci is wonderful. We always have big discussions over the flowers that she sends to me at home. We start from a color palette, which is the opposite of what everyone else does. At this moment, I am very into wild flowers.
Address: Via Brisa, 15, 20123, Milan
La Porta Antica
I hardly ever buy furniture or linens from new shops. I love antique shops. I always find something here.
Address: Via Meravigli, 18, 20123, Milan
Best Thrift Shop
I got my dining plates (I like to use mixed sets) from this tiny shop run by couple who travels to London a lot. All of the local sciuras are dropping off their stuff there. They also have bijoux from the 50s.
Address: Via Meravigli (just after the Taschen book shop)
Best Breakfast & Hostess Gifts
I know there’s one in Via Montenapoleone now, but I prefer the original location where you still have to stand up at the bar for your coffee. I always buy prailines here wrapped up in their beautiful boxes for a hostess gift.
Address: Via Santa Maria alla Porta, 11a, 20123, Milan
It’s a wine shop, but you can always eat very well from their very limited menu. During aperitivo, I order prosciutto and cheese, but you can stay over for dinner too.
Address: Via Vincenzo Monti, 33, 20123, Milan
Best Traditional Restaurant
It’s very old school Milanese. On Saturdays sometimes there are violin players. The melanzane alla parmigiana and vegetables are very good. It’s easier than Santa Lucia which is still Milanese but more upscale.
Address: La Madonnina, Via Gentilino, 6
Santa Lucia, Via S. Pietro All’Orto, 3, Milan
Best Local Milanese shops
I love her jewelry and I have her little bronze pieces on my dining room table. I wore her bronze leaf tiaras for quite some time in my hair.
Address: Via Santa Marta, 13, 20123, Milan
Wait and See
You can always find something small and cute here. A belt or accessories. She has a very good selection.
Address: Via Santa Marta, 14, 20123, Milan
The best place is Ercolessi. It’s the Lorenzi of pens. They have the classics or they remake of the old style pens.
Address: Corso Magenta, 25, 20123, Milan
I love them for their plastic jewelry. Recently I got plastic necklaces from the 30s and I spent the entire summer wearing them.
Address: Foro Buonaparte, 74