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Stray Thoughts On Milan

Today is our last day in Milan. Bobby and I traveled to the city for some work and, personally, the city (and country) were not something I had ever been antsy about getting to. This meant a lot of observations came with my brief time in city.

In no order, with no real logic to them, here are some stray thoughts on Milan. LOL at them or consider them if you’re ever thinking about traveling here for whatever reason.

SO MANY DOGS!! Dogs were fucking everywhere in Milan. I was quite shocked but everyone seemed to be towing around a purebred pup that was as well behaved on-leash as they were off. You never heard dogs bark nor did you smell pee or see shit. It was remarkable. It made me feel quite guilty as an American dog owner whose dogs are constantly whining, peeing, and must be tethered at all times.
Cute trollies! I never rode them but they were like toy trains wobbling down old streets.
Everything looks so damn dirty and tired. Perhaps a charm is lost on me but I was very perplexed by how dirty the city was. There was trash on the street, bad spray paint tags, and a general feeling of soot covering everything. It wasn’t cute.
Young Italian men are beautiful. Doesn’t matter who they were: they were all beautiful.
But they don’t turn into cute old Italian men. Literally. There was a massive chasm between the two demographics since the old Italian men were troll ass dudes. How does this happen.

What’s with the shutters? There was this strange zombie apocalypse feeling to the city because every building had these hideous metal shutters that were constantly pulled. People like their privacy in Milan, sure, but this shit is next level. It was like preparing for the damn Walking Dead. It was not cute.
A brand like Stone Island makes sense in Milan. I love Stone Island. So does Drake. While the wears are delightfully odd in Los Angeles, they are soooooooo tacky Euro dude in the context of stereotypical Euro fashion. A single piece by the brand is cute but an entire outfit is gross. That kind of tainted the brand for me but, hey, some shit they make is really fucking cool.
People park their cars E V E R Y W H E R E. There is no rhyme or reason or logic to how people park. They literally park in the middle of roads, backwards, all over the damn place.
The population is quite diverse. Whether it is ethnicity or ability, I was quite surprised by how diverse the city’s makeup was. There was never a moment where I was like, “Huh. There are no people of color or with different abilities here.” There was always a mix of people on all levels. That was great.

Go to the Dan Flavin church. Flavin created a permanent installation at Chiesa Rossa made possible by Fondazione Prada. It is quite special and, while somewhat underwhelming in person, it photographs beautifully. It makes you almost kind of wish you were spiritual again (or that all churches looked like this).
Everyone is mad. Looking, at least.
No one has dyed hair. A dude with pink hair? I got stareessssssssssss. I was the freak of the town.
Gay people are where? We did walk past a gay bar or two but it was fairly difficult to find any traces of queerness in the city. That was odd.
Don’t drink from the bottle. Several times I declined a glass for a bottle of water and people gave me the dirtiest look. I guess that’s déclassé in Italy. Advice: drink from the fucking glass—not the bottle.
Eighties music. While cute, eighties music was everywhere. In stores, in restaurants, in bars: eighties music. Sometimes Lady Gaga but mostly: eighties music.
I saw a lot of people with broken arms. This could be strictly coincidence. None of them were ever in casts but all wrapped in a bandage and slung.

Two fashion trends of note. Women wore metallic pleated skirts. They were cute! I want that look in shorts. Men wore light navy suits. They were cute! I want that look in shorts.
Discounted fashion? Fashionable people? PSSSH. Nope. Perhaps there is a sale season like in France and Spain but I was shocked by the lack of discounted fashions in a city that originates so many fucking brands. No discount Moschino or Stone Island: I felt let down. Dumb. And nobody had a sense of solid style! I was there for god damned Design Week and I can count on a single hand the people who impressed me with their styles. Dumb.
It’s a quiet city. Quietest I’ve ever been in, really. You could barely hear ambulances!
People ride bikes while on the phone or smoking like it’s a natural thing to do. I can barely ride my bike with one hand on the handlebars. I don’t understand this Milanese magic.
Everything is hidden. There is a big effort on Milan’s behalf to hide what’s going on. From façades that look like buildings to hide construction to palazzos that conceal beautiful courtyards, everything in the city was contained. Perhaps that’s why everything is dirty: the beauty lies within.

You can find hidden flamingoes. No joke: on Via Capuccini there is a courtyard behind a gate that has a ton of flamingoes chilling. We only caught wind as we walked by and heard them giggling to each other as they played.
Don’t get the burger. Italy just isn’t the place to get a burger. They are all unsatisfying and bland. You will be let down.
God damned Issey Miyake bags. You know those cool, geometric Issey Miyake bags? They were everywhere. Not because everyone had great taste but because they were so easily ripped off and sold on the streets. The look got old fast, removing any uniqueness or futurism or artistry from the design.
The city is charming, once you get past the gunk of industry. Personally, I don’t think you or anyone else has to go to Milan unless it is for a specific reason. For fashion week or Design Week or family or some other specific going on, don’t go. I didn’t find myself falling for the city until the end, after days of actively doing things that I had to do for work. If I didn’t have that? I would have been so bored because nothing appealed and everything is quite hidden. I don’t recommend the city for a trip but I do recommend it for work.

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