You know the saying. Give a girl a card, and she'll only stop when she buys out the world. But the truth is, I love how style and fashion is evolving around the world. The best boutiques are no longer just designer labels and snooty shopping assistants. Now they're vibrant places for design, events, clothes and showmanship. And of course, they all look fabulous. So here's my list of 5 absolute must-see stylish places that'll knock your socks off.
Imagine having 10,000 sqft of space, a towering love for fashion and the arts and the ability to create a destination that would forever be not only observed in awe, but even made tangible with the unmatched delight of a shopper. Just wondering about the sheer genius of these masterminds makes me want to swoon all over this blogpost. Definitely puts shame to my comfy-couch-shopping habits.
Prepare yourself for some serious wanderlust and the insane urge to book a flight and take a trip to one of these inspiration-packed havens.
1. LN-CC, Late Night Chameleon Café, London
Since frantic table reservation calls at your favourite uptown Jap restaurant are so 2011, you've now got to reserve an appointment at this extra-ordinary London boutique to deserve a fuss free walk-in. With its unique speak-easy concept - located below a drab office block and opening of an ordinary door, expect to be taken aback by their record store, off-the-chart book collection and in-house disco. Let's not spend too many thoughts on the guest-list for this genre of a Saturday night. Unmissable, though, is the part treehouse, part-spacecraft interiors and avant-garde designer merchandise segregated into themed zones by Creative Director John Skelton. Expect exclusive, designer garments in the price bracket of Harvey Nichols and hand-picked accessories that provide an experience of an exhibition rather than a store.
2. Story, New York
No surprises here - coolest city in theworld houses easily one of the coolest stores in the world.
Revolutionising the way we look at a retail store, Story in New York changes shelves and merchandise with the same scope of change between one month's magazine issue to the next. There’s jewellery for the collectors, glittered Tom’s shoes and cute gifts to go with. Think of this is as a new fashion experience every week. New products, new designers!
What's most impressive (in the midst of so many impressions) is what Donald Robertson, one of Story's collaborations they happened to base an issue on, had to say about them. “She’ll literally take your book that you’re launching, your simple book, and within seconds, there is a massive product line sitting behind it in her store. It’s unbelievable.” Every four weeks when you happen to walk into the store, you'll be presented with a re-invented look, display and product offering.
3. Collette, Paris
The first ever designer boutique in the world to 'curate' merchandise before stocking it, Colette has created an untouchable niche for itself ever since its inception. With an artistic combination of fashion, design, art, food, Colette creators Colette Roussaux and Sarah Lerfel aim at achieving a theory that keep them and their store constantly advancing. The store regularly hosts art and photography exhibitions as well as product launches from leading brands in the world. Coolest of all - the basement is the ‘Water Bar’ offering a cafe menu along with a variety of branded waters from all over the world with a bottle going as high as 50 euros!
4. Corso Como, Milan
I'm heading to Milan this summer and I CANNOT wait to step into this exceptional concept store. Corso Como is located inside the inner courtyard of a traditional Milanese Pallazo but it’s amazing roots lie in an old garage that has now been converted into a multifunctional area where strangers, shoppers and tourists are encouraged to meet and exchange culture, ideas and experiences.
Corso Como is known for its impressible selection of high-fashion and kitty of insane in-house collaborations like Coca Cola, Alessi, Comme des Garçons, Lomographica, Paul Smith, Swatch and Zippo, designing products as varied as dominos, umbrellas, handbags, suitcases, packaging and apparel.
5. LNFA Berlin
The funky Bikini Berlin district hosts LNFA, Live Networking for Fashion & Art, a never seen before amalgamation of a fashion-forward PR agency and concept store. To punch in the PR element into an ordinary designer-in-shop model, SevilUguz of LNFA provides a platform to upcoming designers by not only displaying their merchandise but also hosting custom-tailored events and pop-ups that ensure an unparalleled approach.
Uguz claims her ideal consumer to be someone who has an array of diversity in her wardrobe and is on the lookout for owning designer talent before its commercialized.
Loved my list? Ready to head out on your next vacay to check out these destinations? Then there's one last tip that's an absolute must. Remember I said swipe my way to style?
Well, here's how you shop to your heart's content, and yet save some hard earned money, the way I do it everytime. I use the Axis Multi-Currency Forex Card, which lets you load up to 16 currencies in one go, all in a single card and most importantly, is accepted in over 30 million merchant and outlets. And that's not all. It has absolutely no transaction charges when you swipe it, and even helps you save upto 4%* compared to other forex options.
So, load up, and swipe your way across the world in style.