No one knows the rules of chic as well as Milan’s supreme matriarchs, the sciure, the elite women who keep their house, their wardrobe, and their entire life in immaculate, high-style order. We interviewed the city’s coolest sciure for their rules on high heels in the mountains, Prada presents, and the importance of the panettone.


All we want for Christmas is Susanne Thun’s life. The Austrian-born wife of star Italian architect Matteo Thun is the most exactingly and gloriously chic woman in all of Italy. She shares her holidays with husband, sons, their little Jack Russell Toni, and of course, their ski instructors, at their St. Moritz home, drinking Ruinart champagne and wearing Oscar de la Renta at their black tie Christmas.


When I set a table, I make it even more irresistible than the food: a white tablecloth, the family silver, loads of flowers, and bespoke Venetian glasses from my good friend and Murano glassblower, Yali.

I could spend all of my money on hand-painted porcelain. Meissen, Nymphenburg, and Herend make the most beautiful things for the table, and I like a good tablecloth, napkins, candles and, if we’re more than six people, place cards on some choice German paper.

The most Christmas important dish? Surprise! It’s my Austrian mother’s homemade cookies.

We love our panettone! We always buy way too many of them from the Martesana bakery in Milan, and eat it with lemon marmalade from Capri.

Our home is open to everyone who drops by for a piece of panettone and my son’s famous cocktails– my husband’s parents, lots of friends, ski instructors, and friends of our boys.


In the mountains, high heels are a no-go! I wear mountain boots, big sweaters, pajamas from FRS and Prada, and of course, my vintage Austrian dirndls– very “Sound of Music”.

Christmas eve is black tie for the boys, and I’ll surprise them with a wonderful long skirt from Oscar de la Renta and handmade sandals from Capri. My Christmas outfit always includes flat sandals with no socks and a perfect pedicure.

Salzburg is the most amazing place for shopping for decorations– the Christmas market, Heimatwerk, and the little antique shops are full of incredible handmade items.

I have a whole archive of traditional decorations from my grandmothers, aunts, and friends– two generations of decorations! But this year I want something simple– just some little red apples with ribbons and beeswax candles– for that wonderful perfume!

My flowers are always from Blumengalerie in St. Moritz. This year, I’ll have white hyacinths with all different colors of wild roses– more wonderful perfume.

We always get a very tall, definitely real tree–from Pfäffli at the Schulhausplatz in St. Moritz.


I buy a lot of books as gifts but you know what’s been on my own wish list for 15 years? A Porsche 911 4S.

Giving pearls brings bad luck, so for good luck, I paid 5¢ to my husband when he gave me a magnificent strand of pearls 20 years ago– still my favorite present ever.

Holiday cards are an Austrian tradition. I’ve been sending cards for almost 30 years, with our Christmas family photo, done by different photographers each year, or a else collage of images. There are collectors of my cards!

For my cards, the handwriting and the stamps have to be gorgeous, and they’re printed at Gmund in Germany where they have the most beautiful papers. It takes me a week to write and pack up all of the 450 cards I’ll send out, but I love it.

Gipponi near Corso Garibaldi in Milan has the most wonderful, simple wrapping papers, otherwise I get them in Zurich or in Germany where they really care about paper quality, and I tie up my packages with different colored grosgrain ribbons.

For a housewarming, I always bring a small vintage chair from a flea market, re-upholstered with Dedar or Pierre Frey fabric, with one of my colorful needlepoint cushions.

-Laura Rysman