NOTNestled in the peaceful valley of the Lower Engadine in Switzerland, surrounded by spruce-covered mountains and their snow-capped peaks, Laura Poretti’s Alpine chalet is a sort of refuge. The mainstay of the Italian fashion industry, who spent much of her childhood in the region with her grandfather, bought the place 14 years ago to counter the chaos of life in her native Milan , two and a half hours away.
âWhen I got married, my husband and I decided to have a different space, just for us. That’s why we decided to come here, because it’s far from people and the sun stays [out for] longer, âshe laughs. âI have a very stressful life in Milan, so when I come here it’s a place to relax.â
Poretti is the Creative Director of the Milaura concept store, which she founded in 2015 (a Dover Street Market meets a Liberty-style boutique, offering more than 250 brands, from Victoria Beckham to Birkenstock). Just before the pandemic, she embarked on an ambitious but sadly timed expansion in Milan’s trendy Brera neighborhood, and has spent much of the past two years getting her baby – successfully – back on track. Needless to say, weekend mountain getaways are well deserved and hard earned.
Every Friday, Poretti and his family put the car away and head north. As their three daughters, aged 13, 11 and nine, head to ski school on a Saturday morning, the couple meet friends for lunch, for a walk or to relax at the house.
Unlike many of the surrounding houses, the three bedroom space is modest. âThe nicest thing about my house for me is that it’s simple and chic, which is the best combination,â she says. âHere in the Engadine you can find exceptional and sophisticated chalets, but for me that’s too much.
In the chalet, this translates into a cozy atmosphere with a cute side. Traditional embroidered tablecloths and contemporary Tupperware that she unearthed locally sit alongside cashmere cushions and throws, ready to nestle under the comforting eye of ancestral portraits. Elsewhere, the pieces she herself designed intertwine with contemporary furnishings, making the Swiss retreat an extension of her inviting flagship Corso Garibaldi, where Poretti also curates items she’s purchased along with pieces she designed.
Poretti proudly shows off the gingham bed linen she designed and the curtains she had made by artisans from Italy’s Tyrolean region of Trentino Alto Adige.
âI designed this embroidery design and went to a very, very small place called Casere, near Austria, where all the old women specialize in a very specific technique called ricamo tombolo, “she said.” I wanted to make it 20m [for the windows] and it took these ladies three months to embroider so much!
Poretti is passionate about every inch of the paradise she has created: âI love the details,â she says. One example is the Milaura doll that appears on everything from textiles to tea sets. She designed the action figure after being diagnosed with cancer in 2015, and the doll has become an emblem of the battle she faced when diagnosed. Now the logo of her brand, it recalls the fight she overcame.
âI’m always grateful for this experience, because if I had never had cancer I never would have done Milaura – I wouldn’t have had the courage to do something like that,â she says. âI’ve been a manager in big companies, but doing your own thing is a whole different job. I love my job, I work very hard. My dream is not only to have a store, but to find and build a great business.
After spending years ‘shopping with other people’s money’ as she puts it, Poretti has ‘a very clear idea of ââwhat I like and what I don’t like’. The same confident affirmation extends to its interior.
âI don’t like it when the houses are messy, I like everything to look pretty and I hate branded items,â she says. “For me, being very stylish means being unique and different, which is why in my concept store I don’t only have well-known brands – and the same goes for my house.”
While work brings Poretti and her family back to Milan every Monday, the Engadine haven gives her the balance she needs. âI used to travel all over the world with the collections,â she says. “Now I love the idea of ââfeeling comfortable here.”
Milaura, Corso Garibaldi, 20, 20121 Milan