Known for its fancy shopping promenades and its catwalk shows, Milan is also regarded as the fashion capital of Italy, and arguably the world. Few know that it also possesses a long artisanal heritage that dates back to the time of Leonardo Da Vinci, who created some of mankind’s greatest masterpieces here, like “The Last Supper.”
In fact, the jewellery making tradition in his old neighbourhood, now known as 5Vie, is alive and well, and it is no wonder our Brand Ambassador Helen Nonini, a fashion icon in her own right, with a sixth sense for trends, begins her journey the heart of 5Vie, at Bona Calvi, the workshop of a 29-year-old art restorer-turned-jewelry maker who hand-etches animals and playful objects into bronze rings and charms.
“Milan for me is a city of discovery. Nothing is as it seems. It’s a constellation – a constellation of fashion, art, music design and food,” she mused of the city she has been living and working in for the last two decades.
After that it is onto Simone Rainer, a young leather goods accessories maker who is known for his geometric triangle bags. The geometric symmetry of a Rainer is unmistakable – most of his bags are in the shape of a triangle or a hexagon and are identifiable by his smartly engineered clasp that bears his signature logo: three triangles fused together. This is her go-to hand accessory for a variety of events ranging from sunset aperitivo to red carpet occasions.
She makes a quick stop at Ambleme, a sandal maker inspired by the citrus – studded shores of Italian summer areas like the Amalfi Coast. Indeed, a yellow and straw coloured silk satin sandal is the perfect piece to usher in an endless summer away from the crowded city streets. Juxtapositions are the perfect way to demonstrate a woman’s inner diversity, which is why a summer sandal can blend matched with a luxury item like a sweeping dress — if the wearer possesses the confidence to pull it off.
In pursuit of the perfect evening gown, Nonini then makes her way to Stephan Janson’s atelier. A French import to Milan with a passion for Northern Morocco, Janson is known for his knack for drapery and for creating timeless pieces. Draped in his long fuchsia cady dress, Nonini arrives at the Sala Reale of Milan’s Central Station, the perfect backdrop of this tribute to her personal style.
The ultimate accessory, and perhaps the essence behind Nonini’s personal style, is her signature turban, made exclusively for her by milliner Altalen, an artiansal hat maker. In addition to her confidence, her head wear is an accessory that serves as the main building block of every outfit the Persian Egyptian-Italian brand advisor puts on. “Turbans are an obsession. It’s part of my personality and cultural DNA. They are basically an extension of my thoughts.”