One of most well-preserved treasures of Milano are its trams. Over 90 years ago, in 1928, the famous tram cars called “Carrelli”, “1500 series” or “Ventotto” began operating in Milan. Outfitted with wooden chairs, and yellow panels, they are still in use today and one of the most eco-safe ways to travel throughout the city. The nostalgic, retro aesthetic is the reason why it has ended up in so many ad campaigns and most recently served as the site of Margherita Missoni’s spring summer 2020 debut ready-to-wear collection. It’s no wonder, Helen decides to take a ride on one with one of her most beloved Milanese fashion friends: fashion and design PR firm owner and leading figure in communications, Luisa Bertoldo, who under her company’s umbrella, has promoted some of the most unique, fashion-forward brands to emerge on the Italian fashion scene.

Helen and Luisa, in addition to being close friends for several years, also share the same passion for fashion, accessories and online shopping. The two women head for a lunch together to keep abreast of the latest news and upcoming projects. It is precisely there that Helen tells Luisa about The Dressing Screen and her involvement in the Istituto Mario Negri charity, to which five percent of sales generated through TDS are donated.

Luisa Bertoldo and Helen Nonini for The Dressing Screen

The two take the tram to the centre of town, and walk just a few steps away from the La Scala opera house  (the oldest in the world) to a restaurant called T’a Milano Restaurant & Bistrot, a stylish, alluring Milanese destination, outfitted with exquisite pieces, such as designer lamps, tables and velvet seating, created exclusively by Vincenzo De Cotis Architects. As they enter, the two feel instantly at home.

During this gourmet lunch the two blend in harmony with the elegant setting where we will discover more about these two women, who in their own ways, are both ironic, concrete, intelligent and have their own eclectic style.

Let’s start with how they build their look: both possess a classic and refined attitude and they both start from great classics and then focus on unique details that make their style distinct. Helen opts for classic pair of black jeans and a classic cashmere crew-neck sweater, in order to show off her luxuriant Mantero 1902 poncho, a cocooning cape in a soft blend of wool and silk with a contrasting interior, embellished with silk twill applications adorned with colored prints. In the same vein, Luisa chooses a classic pair of high-waisted slacks and meshes it with a super soft, pure cashmere blend pullover by Alyki, a Biella-based brand that celebrates the art of wool spinning.

Both decide to refine their look with accessories that are best adapted to their own style: Helen wears her cherished bespoke turban and Luisa dons The Mantero 1902 Bouquet Foulard, an authentic vintage design that was taken from the first Mantero collection of hand designed floral patterns accentuated with a modern colour palette.

The two discuss the latest, new brands, designs, online shopping and Helen advises Luisa, a passionate advocate of craftspeople and exclusive emerging brands to visit The Dressing Screen, the exclusive meeting point for all lovers of beauty, uniqueness, tradition and quality. It is also the place to find niche brands that are difficult
to find through mainstream channels. Luisa, who represents upscale brands, as well as quirky newcomers like Venetian brand Bagni Luisa, a label that celebrates modern gondolier, seaside life via vintage  slogan t-shirts.

“Accessories are the first thing I purchase online. Shoes, jewellery, scarves, bags and also design objects and furniture, are my passion. I think the interesting thing about shopping online is being able to discover small and medium-sized brands that were previously hidden and this aspect has driven the demand for Italian creativity, from young emerging artists to expert craftsmen,” Luisa said.

Virginia Severini for The Dressing ScreenShop the Diamante pink wood handbag

Speaking of accessories, both ladies looked to artisan brands over big luxury names for their hand bag of choice. And even though Helen embraces classic styles, she also seeks out a modern touch when completing her look. Her pink geometric purse was handmade from acacia wood by Virginia Severini, an Italian band founded in 2017 known for their unusual forms and architectural flair. Luisa chose a colourful Mantero 1902 Lounge bag,  a small and passe-partout bag, embellished with soft and colourful ostrich feathers, and can be slung over the shoulder or hand-carried using the leather loop on the back.

On her feet, Luisa is wearing a hand crafted pair of pumps crafted with leather and a tejus lizard print, exclusively designed for The Dressing Screen by Bologna-based artisan Tarcio. Comfortable, yet refined, are the perfect characteristics of a pair of shoes fit for a Milanese professional woman who is perpetually on the go.

Dressed in head-to-toe, picture-perfect style, their meeting ends on a high note as they both continue their day.