Alessandra Rich’s perfect weekend in Milan

The womenswear designer’s edgily opulent aesthetic makes her signature full-length dresses stand out in any room during the party season

Alessandra Rich at Trattoria Arlati, Milan
Alessandra Rich at Trattoria Arlati, Milan | Image: Valentina Sommariva

“Although I am based in London, all my production happens in Italy, so three years ago, my husband Steven and I bought an old photography studio in the NoLo area of Milan to have as my Italian HQ. We renovated it to make an open-plan living area – a lovely, light-filled space.

Milan is a clever, energetic city: there is so much going on creatively. NoLo, in particular, has lots of artists and studios; it’s up-and-coming – we’ve seen a massive change over the past two years.

On Saturday morning, I go to Hug, a co-working space and club set in a former chocolate factory. It’s super-relaxed, full of young photographers and writers, and the food is simple: breakfast with lovely jams and local cheeses, or seasonal soups and delicious roast chicken for lunch.

If I’m in the mood for amazing things, I’ll go to Pennisi, an antique jewellery store where you could find anything from incredible objets to ornate brooches. I normally just look, but I once bought my mother a beautiful religious pendant.

From there, I’ll head to Villa Necchi, a 1930s house by Piero Portaluppi. It’s the epitome of Milanese bourgeois style and such a special place. You can tour the house’s still-intact interiors and admire the art collection of the original owners. I also like wandering in the garden, which is classic and understated.

I prefer eating in authentic, traditional places. La Brisa does typical Milanese food. In winter, I choose the risotto – it’s the best in the city, especially when eaten on the lovely veranda. Or I’ll have bollito misto – slow-cooked stew – at Osteria del Treno, an old place that looks very 1940s with its tiled floor and wooden tables: it’s nothing fancy but is always packed.

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If I want an escape, the Fondazione Prada is perfect; it’s like travelling to a magical city of art. We see so many great shows there – one of my favourites was by the sculptor Gianni Piacentino, who made these amazing geometric, industrial forms. I loved how it was presented. This year, they opened the last part of the complex, which has a restaurant designed by Rem Koolhaas and the architecture firm OMA – I am looking forward to trying it.

For dinner, it has to be Trattoria Arlati. It looks like a house and you have to ring the doorbell; they open this tiny door and inside is full of paintings, sculptures and baroque decorations – all a bit mix-and-match. One room is all red and another is black; it’s very dark in there but it’s fun. The food is super-typical of the region: I love their ossobuco and the veal cotoletta.

Ideally on Sunday morning I’ll go to Navigli market, which has everything from vintage fashion and antique jewellery to midcentury furniture. The stalls stretch for almost 2km and I find many inspiring pieces there – it could be something simple like a navy blazer with amazing buttons that starts a whole collection.

Sometimes we’ll drive to Como instead and go to Villa d’Este for lunch. There is nothing and nowhere else like it – sitting with the incredible views over the lake is so relaxing. You can order almost anything, but I’ll have something simple like a caprese salad or bresaola. Taking a boat around the lake afterwards is wonderful, particularly to Bellagio – I feel so peaceful on the water, surrounded by mountains. We might go to Il Sereno hotel, a sleek place with a beautiful pool to sit beside for drinks. I love their Insolito Spritz, which has a Middle Eastern sherbet flavour.

In the evening, I like going to Milan’s Il Baretto al Baglioni, open since the ’60s, for paccheri allo scoglio, a delicious seafood pasta. Often, though, we’ll go to Cinema Beltrade, a beautiful, old movie theatre that shows the independent films I love in their native language. It’s the ultimate, relaxing end to the weekend.”

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