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In The Neighbourhood: Wok Milan

by Hollie Moat. Photography by Gaia Cambiaggi
We all know that in the fashion world, Milan is the capital of luxury, the place that Gucci, Fendi and Prada call home. But aside from the decadence – the ‘It’ bags and the sumptuous furs, it’s also a city heavily into the conceptual - annually playing host to one of the world’s most prestigious furniture fairs.
It’s precisely this mix of interests that sums up Milan boutique WOK, which loves great design as much as it loves clothes. Owners Federica Zambon and Simona Citarella devote equal space to the most fashion-forward of luxury labels – think Kokon To Zai and Maison Martin Margiela – and their own collaborations with local artists and designers.

The store is perfectly placed for such an eclectic mix, ‘It’s the best area in the city for young creative people’ says Federica of their neighbourhood ‘we’ve been living and going out around here since we were teenagers.’
Full of up-and-comers as it is, Federica explains that the community feel of the area is down to its strong ties to traditional Italian life, ‘our boutique is located close to the Navigli, which is full of the old popular houses called ‘case di ringhiera’, where all the buildings were built around a courtyard, always full of children and older people, and families.’

WOK’s outlook on the city, one that mixes old and modern Italy as well as fashion and design, offers a unique take on Milan. So of course we asked the girls to show us around the most interesting sights and destinations.


How to see it

On foot and at an easy pace, so you can talk to everyone you meet. Federica says ‘it’s easy to build relations with everybody here.’

What to wear

Leave the suit at home. Federica says, ‘It’s very relaxed here. We have a really great sense of community but there’s no uniform or way people expect you to dress.’

The furniture mecca

Federica says ‘Spazio Orlandi is an enormous furniture store and the best place to see pieces from upcoming designers. It also sells vintage furniture, and if you’re redoing your house it’s the perfect place to visit, either to buy something seriously cool or just take in the avant-garde ideas.’

The season savvy restaurant

Federica says ‘Rebelot just opened in May but it’s already one of my favourite places to eat. They really respect the food seasons so the quality is amazing, plus it means they’re always changing the menu, so you never get bored. I also love their cocktails, which come served in little antique whiskey bottles.’

The perfect lazy afternoon

Federica says ‘The La Triennale di Milano is a design museum and events venue immersed in the Park Sempione, it’s located inside the Palace of Art building. Visiting it can make a really great afternoon out, we’ll go over to take in the design, art and photography exhibitions and then lie in the park drinking (Aeperol) spritz.’

The beautiful people hang-out

 Federica says ‘If you enjoy drinking then a visit to Rita is an absolute must. Their cocktails and spirits are of the most fantastic quality, though it’s worth going for the music alone. Even the waiters are pretty good to look at!’

The dream house

Federica says ‘Villa Necchi was built in the Thirties by the famous Milanese architect Piero Portaluppi. It’s barely changed since, and now it’s open to the public again you can go in and see the rooms. Outside there is a huge yard, a tennis court and swimming pool. If you’re into architecture, it’s a must-visit, and the area it’s located in is one of the most beautiful in all of Milan.

The brunch spot

Federica says ‘Eating should be a long and extensive pleasure, not one of mere gourmet – that’s Erba Bruca’s philosophy, and we agree with him! The atmosphere here is unique, incredibly warm and Bruca has used lots of raw materials in the décor. It also always smells amazing. We come here often on Sundays to have brunch under a beautiful pergola.

Best for glasses wearers  

Federica says ‘Foto Veneta Ottica is a heaven for people who prefer wearing non-conventional glasses. Their range even includes Cavour style little oval lenses with thin metal frames that date back to the end of the nineteenth century. They also stock butterfly shaped glasses and round John Lennon styles. We love exploring this place to gather inspiration for our own store.’

The drinking den

Federica says ‘Tango is a typical Milanese bar, we often go there for a drink after dinner with friends, and for some reason whenever we go we always end up laughing. You can also get a bite to eat if you want, I hear the hamburgers and hotdogs are excellent.’

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