Chalet chic: my Alpine escape

estled in the peaceful Lower Engadine valley in Switzerland, surrounded by spruce-covered mountains and their snow-dusted peaks, Laura Poretti’s Alpine chalet is something of a refuge. The Italian fashion-industry stalwart, who spent much of her childhood in the area with her grandfather, bought the place 14 years ago to counter the chaos of life in her native Milan, a two-and-a-half-hour drive away.

“When 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," 그녀가 웃다. “I have a very stressful life in Milano so when I come here it’s a place to relax.”

Poretti is the creative director of concept store Milaura, which she founded in 2015 (a Dover Street Market meets Liberty-style boutique, stocking more than 250 brands, from Victoria Beckham to Birkenstock). Just before the pandemic, she embarked on an ambitious but unfortunately timed expansion in Milan’s trendy Brera area, and has spent much of the past two years getting her baby – successfully – back on track. Needless to say, weekend escapes to the mountains are well deserved and hard won.

Each Friday, Poretti and her family pack up the car and head north. While her three daughters, 늙은 13, 11 and nine, swoosh off to ski school on a Saturday morning, the couple meet friends for lunches, go for walks or unwind at home.

Unlike a lot of the surrounding homes, the three-bedroom space is modest. “The nicest thing about my house for me is that it’s simple and chic, which is the best combination," 그녀는 말한다. “Here in Engadina you can find outstanding, sophisticated chalets, but for me, that’s too much.”

In the chalet, this translates to cosy with a side of cute. Traditional embroidered tablecloths and contemporary Tupperware she picked up locally sit alongside cushions and cashmere throws, ready to cuddle up with under the comforting eye of ancestral portraits. 다른 곳, pieces she has designed herself mingle with contemporary furniture, making the Swiss retreat an extension of her inviting Corso Garibaldi flagship, where Poretti also curates items she has bought with pieces she has conceived.

Poretti points proudly to gingham bed linen she has designed and curtains she had made by craftswomen in the Italian Tyrolean region of Trentino-Alto Adige.

“I designed this pattern of embroidery and I went to a very, very little place called Casere, near Austria, where all the old women specialise in a very specific technique called ricamo tombolo," 그녀는 말한다. “I wanted to have 20m of it made [for the windows] and it took these ladies three months to embroider that much!”

Poretti is passionate about every inch of the haven she has created: “I love the details," 그녀는 말한다. One such example is the Milaura doll that pops up on everything from textiles to tea sets. She designed the figure after a cancer diagnosis in 2015, and the doll became an emblem of the battle she faced when diagnosed. Now the logo of her brand, it serves as a reminder of the struggle she overcame.

“I’m always grateful for that experience, because if I had never had cancer, I would never have done Milaura – I wouldn’t have had the courage to do something like that," 그녀는 말한다. “I have been a manager in big companies, but to do your own thing is a completely different job. I love my job, I work really hard. My dream is not just to have a store, but to find and build a huge company.”

After spending years “shopping with other people’s money” as she puts it, Poretti has “a very clear idea of what I like and don’t like”. The same confident assertion is extended to her interior.

“I don’t like when houses are messy, I love to have everything nice and I hate branded things," 그녀는 말한다. “For me, being very elegant means to be unique and different, that’s why in my concept store I don’t just have well-known brands – and the same goes for my home.”

While work takes Poretti and her family back to Milan each Monday, the Engadine haven gives her the balance she needs. “I used to travel all over the world with the collections," 그녀는 말한다. “Now I just love the idea of feeling comfortable here.”

Milaura, Corso Garibaldi, 20, 20121 Milan

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