Opera Chic: Shopping Marc by Marc in Milan
It had to happen—the American hipsters have landed in Milan! With the opening of his Marc by Marc shop in the city’s Brera neighborhood a couple weeks ago, Marc Jacobs marked his first foray into Italy (honestly, Opera Chic doesn’t count the paltry selection on the upper floors of Milan’s tragically unhip department store, Rinascente). Marc’s store sits in the quaint Piazza del Carmine (#6) in the shadow of the beautiful 13th century Carmelite church, Santa Maria del Carmine. Unlike Milan’s Quadrilatero neighborhood, where luxury labels like Etro, Chanel, Balenciaga, Valentino, and Dior have set up shop, Brera is artsy and bohemian, with an abundance of outdoor bars, cafes and small boutiques. (Just watch out for the cobblestones—and even worse, the kiwi-sized stones that line the piazza. Opera Chic has massacred more than one pair of heels in this part of town.)
Bringing the famous American work ethic to the more relaxed shores of Italy, the store is open seven days a week (most stores here are closed on Sunday), opening at noon and closing at 8pm (10pm on Thursday). The sales team is made up of bilingual Americans and Italians who refreshingly and unironically rock American street style against a soundtrack of unedited rap. Mark-up of prices is fair, unlike other American brands found in Italy. On the first trip to the store, we purchased a few Marc by Marc mushroom hoodies (for 16 euro, about $21 USD) and a cute canvas tote bag (for 25 euro, about $33 USD). There are also Milan-only items, like a Marc by Marc beach towel done up in red, white and green.
Perhaps best of all, the store has its own cafe serving breakfast, lunch, and aperitivo that’s caught on like fire with locals. You can eye-up fellow shoppers at the outdoor table service or make it quick with traditional Italian bar service where you sip your drinks on your feet. The menu offers salads (one deliciously called “Octopussy”), burgers, veggie plates, and sandwiches. Having only opened a couple weeks ago, the cafe could use chicer seating and few umbrellas— Opera Chic hopes Marc visits Milan soon to add a few final touches and sell us some of his man skirts.