Italy's Designer Secrets
Published: June 2012
By Valerie Waterhouse
<p>One of the world’s most fashionable countries is also a great source for affordable designer finds. T+L reveals the top 10 shops, from Milan to Rome.</p>
You'll not only find last season’s bags and shoes from Tod’s at this warehouse off the region’s A14 motorway, but also accessories from Hogan and clothing from preppy label Fay. Favorite Find Tod’s pebble-soled driving moccasins (from $176). T+L Tip Be prepared for a little sticker shock. Even here, the prices (30 percent below retail) can be high. The Facts Tod’s Factory Outlet; Via Filippo della Valle, Brancadoro, Sant'Elpidio a Mare; 39-073/487-1671. Open Mon. 3–7 p.m.; Tues.–Sun. 9 a.m.–7 p.m.
Le Marche is renowned for superb leather goods, and this sophisticated, family-owned house is one of the best sources. Favorite Find Deconstructed, boxy handbags in colorful deerskin ($217). T+L Tip Book a tour of the adjacent workshop, where artisans hand-cut, stitch, mold, and finish Il Gergo’s wares. The Facts Calzaturificio Spernanzoni Vittorio & Figli; 66 Via Gentile da Fabriano, Morrovalle; 39-0733/865-149. Open Mon.–Fri. 9 a.m.–12:30 p.m.; Sat. 3–7:30 p.m.
Milan & Beyond
This shop in Milan’s outlying Ortica neighbor-hood is one of only two Marni outlets worldwide. Favorite Find Sable lamb napa-leather ankle boots ($135). T+L Tip Visit during the city’s biannual fashion weeks (late February/early March; late September/early October), when new stock arrives. The Facts Outlet Marni; 1 Via Tajani; 39-02/7104-0332. Open Mon.–Fri. 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; Sat. 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
The two floors of this narrow boutique near the center of town are a treasure trove, especially for pieces emblazoned with the brand’s signature paisley. Favorite Find Patterned cashmere sweaters ($203). T+L Tip Arrive at 10 a.m., when the store opens, and you might have the space to yourself. The Facts Etro Outlet; 3 Via Spartaco; 39-02/5502-0218. Open Mon. 3–7 p.m.; Tues.–Sun. 10 a.m.–1 p.m.
Right on the famed Via Montenapo-leone, this store offers last season’s looks from just about every big Italian designer: Prada, Miu Miu, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, and more. Favorite Find Silk floral Gucci dress ($540). T+L Tip Look for items from up-and-coming—and often better-priced—labels like quirky Frankie Morello and street-influenced Dsquared2. The Facts DMagazine Outlet; 26 Via Montenapoleone; 39-02/7600-6027. Open Mon.–Sun. 9:30 a.m.–7:45 p.m.
Nineteen miles north of Milan, this is Armani’s largest factory store in Europe and carries a full roster of labels, including Giorgio Armani, Armani Junior, and Armani Casa. Favorite Find Tailored jeans ($68). T+L Tip Check the labels as you hunt: some of Armani’s more affordable pieces are made in Turkey and are of lesser quality. The Facts Armani Factory Store; 13 Strada Provinciale per Bregnano, Vertemate; 39-031/887-373. Open Mon.–Sat. 9:30 a.m.–7 p.m.
Everyone loves Prada, and this is an entire warehouse full of it, plus the younger Miu Miu and casual Prada Sport lines. Favorite Find Prada’s classic black canvas tote (from $217). T+L Tip Avoid visiting on weekends, when you may have to wait two hours to get in. The Facts Space; Località Levanella S.S. 69, Montevarchi; 39-055/919-01. Open Mon.–Fri. 10 a.m.–7 p.m.; Sat. 9:30 a.m.–7 p.m.; Sun. 2–7 p.m.
Barneys and Bergdorf Goodman stock shirts from this 30-year-old family label, better-known in the United States as Moreno Martini. At its shop, 13 miles from Florence, you'll find dozens of colors, as well as cashmere and merino knits. Favorite Find Floral silk blouses ($73). T+L Tip Though the outlet’s hours are limited, they will often open shop if you call in advance. The Facts Fabry’s; 29 Via Kennedy, Figline Valdarno; 39-055/958-811. Open Wed.–Fri. 5–7:30 p.m.; Sat. 10:30 a.m.–1 p.m., 3–7 p.m.
Dolce & Gabbana
Apart from the range of adult pieces in the super-sexy label’s Tuscan warehouse, there’s also a large selection of items for kids. Favorite Find Animal-print toddler T-shirt ($105). T+L Tip Don’t be put off by the sizes on display. Upon request, larger ones are available (up to U.S. size 12 for women, U.S. 48 for men). The Facts Dolce & Gabbana Outlet; 49 Località Santa Maria Maddalena, Pian delL’Isola, Incisa in Val d’Arno; 39-055/833-1300. Open every day 9 a.m.–8 p.m.
With its blond-wood shelves, doting assistants, and perfumed air, shopping at this factory store in the Aurelio neighborhood is as pleasant as browsing the flagship store on Via Condotti. Favorite Find Gold-and-gemstone cluster rings ($732). T+L Tip Prices here may seem high on first glance, but there’s an automatic 25–40 percent off taken at the register. The Facts Bulgari Outlet, 1052 Via Aurelia; 39-06/661-7071. Open Mon.–Fri. 10 a.m.–6 p.m.