Milan has gradually turned into the capital of Italian fashion (and into one of the “Big Four” capitals of international fashion) starting from the postwar period, when it literally tore the title away from the other cities where national fashion was rooted - Rome, Florence and Turin - reaching its peak in the Nineties with the legendary fashion shows by Armani, Ferré and Versace.
But the relationship between Milan and fashion is not just about marketing, communication and big investments. There is a deeper, historical connection: to reach the true origin of this vocation - which is currently dominated by luxury multinationals international "fashion weeks" replicated in New York, London and Paris - one needs to explore the local tradition of craftsmanship that has always been part of the identity of Milan and of which fashion in its noblest form is a direct descendant.
For many centuries, goldsmiths, luthiers, leather workers and paper makers have worked in the small artisan workshops of the city generating a heritage of beauty and know-how that is absolutely worth discovering, and that still continues to be enriched through the work of rare, visionary and brave craftsmen.
A "grand tour" of the artisan workshops
Suspended between fashion, design and art, the objects created in the historic artisan workshops can tell us a lot about the origins of Made in Italy. However, it is not always easy to have access to these often hidden and somewhat off-the beaten-path places, let alone be able to speak with the artisans and learn the secrets of the trade, or what happens behind the scenes of what the world envies us so much.
Yet someone decided to put together an emblematic selection of these excellences in a special tour entirely dedicated to the artisan Milan. The name, Grand Tour, is inspired by the golden age of the great travels through continental Europe that young British aristocrats typically embarked on a few centuries ago to discover, among other things, Italian art and architecture.