(CNN)Italy’s northern capital may be all about fashion but there’s more to Milan than the glossy boutiques of famous brands.
Young couturiers and innovative designers rub shoulders with historic family-run ateliers where generation after generation have been crafting tailored clothes.
They create unique garments according to personal taste and needs, with the highest-quality fabrics.
These boutiques are hidden, “secret” even — yet treasured by a global cognoscenti.
For those that want to stand out from the crowd, here’s our pick of eight of the best.
Mad hatters: Mutinelli
Stepping inside Mutinelli is like stepping into a museum: marble floors, brass doors, tall glass windows and more than a century of history.
Old metal and wooden shapers — used to measure heads and create hats — are on display.
Opened in 1888, it’s one of the last remaining old-school boutiques that hand make hats.
There are top hats and berets of all sizes and colors, classic lids and casual headgear for both men and women.
But it’s not all occasion wear.
There are also soft pastel-colored shirts and handmade boxers and pyjamas.
Synthetic materials are banned.
Alessandro Agostini and his mother take care of everything: They design, stitch, knit.
And they’re proud of it.
“My grandmother opened this boutique in 1900 and since then it’s always been family-run,” he says.
Tiny details make the difference here: white-orange piping, type of collar, shirt cuffs and embroidered initials.