Fashionistas should flex their credit cards at one of these five top fashion cities.
This Italian metropolis is a mecca for fashion gurus. The perfectly preened locals look like they have stepped straight off the catwalk, as they totter around on sky-high heels, togged up in designer garments and chic accessories.
If you want to splurge on high-end Italian designers, head to the Quadrilatero d’Oro (rectangle of gold), where the streets are flush with high-end designer boutiques: think Armani, Gucci, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Versace and all the major fashion houses. La Rinascente is Milan’s main department store and stocks everything from clothing and beauty products to ?gifts and household goods.
If you want to give your credit card ?a rest, but you’re still keen to soak up the designer shopping vibe, many of the boutiques have snazzy in-house cafes. Knock back a cocktail at Bar Martini in Dolce & Gabbana’s flagship store at Corso Venezia 15 or sip an espresso like a local at the Gucci Café in the glass-roofed Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, the world’s first enclosed shopping mall, which opened in 1867.
After a heavy day of retail ?therapy, refuel with a prosecco ?at the Armani Café, chock-full ?of designer memorabilia.
For bargain buys, check out Il Salvagente (salvagentemilano.it), ?a factory outlet loaded with designer seconds, imitations and last season’s stock from brands such as Armani, Fendi and Prada. If you loathe big brands, find alternative fashion shops on corso di Porta Ticinese or in Brera.
But fashion is not Milan’s only attraction. Don’t leave the city without seeing the palatial Milan Cathedral (Duomo di Milano), Italy’s largest cathedral. Also explore the Royal Palace of Milan, an expansive building used by the government for centuries, which now houses exhibitions.
If sport is more your cup of tea, catch an AC Milan or FC Internazionale Milano game after taking a short bus ride to the stadium. Petrolheads should visit in September to catch the Italian Grand Prix, 20km from the city.
New York City, US
Head across the pond to this energetic city for some shopping that won’t disappoint. Make a beeline for Stateside department stores, such as trendy Barneys; Bloomingdale’s, with its famous ?brown bags; and nine-floored Macy’s. If you love vintage clothes ?and record shops, visit the East Village and Brooklyn. Small neighbourhoods such as Soho are home to hip designers Anna Sui and Miu Miu.
Stepping on to the streets of Tokyo is like getting a sneaky peak into the future; its neon lights and modern architecture have had a direct influence on the city’s fashion. Renowned for its edgy street elements, Tokyo fashion combines bright colours and eccentric details, creating an outlandish style. For high-end shops, try the Ginza district. Also check out Odaiba, a popular shopping and entertainment area in Tokyo Bay.
The city of lights has been home to some of the greatest masterminds ?of haute couture, including Chanel, Yves St Laurent and Louis Vuitton. ?For upscale designs, make a beeline ?for the Champs-Elysees, a prestigious avenue lined with the city’s most exclusive brands. For vintage stores aplenty, say ‘bonjour’ to Paris’s Le Marais district, where you can snap up amazing finds at rock bottom prices. The world’s largest flea market, Les Puces, is a treasure trove of vintage.
Hip Berlin has a burgeoning vintage scene, oozing retro shops and funky flea markets. For Eighties garb and punky pieces, drop into Made in Berlin (kleidermarket.de) and for dirt-cheap second-hand clothes, rifle through the rails at the five-floored charity shop Humana (Frankfurther Tor 3). Jumbo Second Hand (Wiener Strabe, 63), is an epic jumble sale, while Ohne Frage Toll (Chausseestrasse; ohnefragetoll.de) has a great range ?of retro.
– Janine Kelso