Dear Shaded Viewers,
maybe you don’t know what this is about… So, first of all: La Rinascente used to be the swankiest italian department store in the 20th Century. Its name was invented by poet Gabriele D’Annunzio after a big fire destroyed the old building. Since then it always had this bulky look, a little fascist, that shaped the lanscape of Piazza Duomo. From the upper deck, you feel like living amongst the gothic gargoyles of the cathedral.
La Rinascente was so much in vogue before the 80s! Before italian fashion in Milan did "boom!". Before the 80s, via Spiga only hosted a couple of good charcutiers and via Montenapoleone just some jewellers and perhaps Mila Schon. From the 50s to the 70s the upper class used to shop at La Rinascente; graphic designer Max Huber did the logo and the catalogues; glamorous exhibitions were held to show objects and clothes from unknown cultures like Japan; classy architects and interior decorators like Giancarlo Ortelli and Rosanna Monzini used to design the season’s layouts, windows included; even Mr Armani worked there for a while, before his first collection. More or less, it was like any other serious western department store, from Barney’s to Galeries Lafayette. Then something slightly changed, the wide international audience became more attracted to the Quadrilatero, where every designer had to have his own flagship store and La Rinascente’s buyers had to move from the first row to the second, then the third, and so on.
Last evening’s "Rock Remix" party was quite interesting for us, milanese curious crowd: Karla Otto’s expensive invitation (a 45 tours vynil featuring two new songs by parisian musician Rachid Taha, the night’s special guest) revealed what was already in the air – rock’n roll. No big news, but still an effort. Occasion: two new floors dedicated to luxury accessories and parfums – lobby and mezzanine now offer a Vuitton shop-in-shop, labels’ corners from Dior to Missoni.
Re-designed entirely by India Mahdavi, a former assistant to Christian Lieigre, the huge lobby looks now like a chic luxurious family tomb: all marble, white and black. I tried to spot the most colorful outfits, here in my drawings: unfortunately most of the party crowd was dressed in a more corporate and boring way.
They wouldn’t let us in – my brother and I – because I was wearing a "strange" orange hat (by Capucci) and he was carrying a backpack, you know.
Taha and the drummers were very nice. Too much light, for my taste.