Lights, camera, fashion!
We have compiled a list of our favourite shopping destinations around the world (because what could be better than shopping and travelling?).
From having a dress custom-made in Hoi An in Vietnam (designed by you and stitched up by an expert tailor) to trekking all the way to Sacred Valley in Peru for authentic indigenous jewellery, we bring you the best shopping experiences around the globe in some unforgettable locations. Turn your wardrobe into a melting pot of cultural fashion styles…
Hoi An, Vietnam
Hoi An in central Vietnam is an enchanting place to shop; Japanese merchant houses, Chinese tea houses and Parisian-style alfresco cafes are dotted along the Thu Bon River, which was an important trading centre in the 19th century. Hoi An is home to the largest concentration of tailors, with over 600 of them residing in the area, so it’s no surprise that it is internationally renowned for its couture clothing. People around the world head there to make their fashion dreams come true; choose from a wealth of gorgeous fabrics (from delicate chiffons and pure Vietnamese silk to rayon and cotton), get measured up, hand over your design and get beautiful, custom-made clothing that fits you like a dream. What's more, the tailors can usually spin these dresses from 24 to 48 hours! Yaly Couture, A Dong Silk and Thu Thuy are some of the most popular tailors in Hoi An, known for their high quality fabrics, craftsmanship and excellent customer service.
As the fashion capital of the world and the place that gave us Versace, Fendi and Dolce & Gabbana, Milan is one of our favourite destinations for an overseas shopping trip. Designer fiends will love prowling the trendy Quadrilatero dell’Oro – which literally means ‘the golden quadrilateral' – where most of its high-end shops and boutiques are located, showcasing top-of-the-range garments still hot from the runway. While we are on the subject of runways, you can enjoy your very own private catwalk show at the Versace flagship store (with a complimentary in-store aperitivo, of course). We couldn’t think of anything better for some pre-shopping inspiration and you even leave with a Versace gift. As every killer outfit needs matching jewellery, head to the Vhernier flagship store afterwards for an exclusive tour and find out how iconic pieces like the Camuration rings and colour-blocked Freccia bracelets are made from rough gemstones. For a full fashion immersion, stay at the Armani Hotel Milano which features faux-lizard furniture, backlit headboards reminiscent of runways and Armani’s iconic ‘greige’ incorporated in the décor.
Marrakech’s maze-like market square, Djemaa el-Fna, contains an array of colourful souqs where you can find everything from spices to boldly-printed silk clothing and leather items. With the sound of snake charmers in the background and the smell of tagine in the air, shopping in Marrakech is a truly magical experience. If you wish to avoid the crowds, you can also head to the more high-end 33 Rue Majorelle – a stylish and classy emporium where you can get your hands on the best fashion, shoes and jewellery from 60 of Morocco’s top designers as well as good food and wines. For quality kaftans, abayas and kimonos, head to Max and Jan on Route Sidi Abdelaziz and Norya Ayron’s tiny pop-up store in Le Jardin restaurant which counts a long list of celebrities as its fans.
Nearby, you can visit the beautiful Jardin Majorelle – the former residence of designer Yves Saint Laurent - which includes a botanical garden and art museum. Accessorise with Moroccan fabric and eccentric fringed bags at Lalla next door.
For some of us, looking glamorous isn’t enough – we need to smell it too. If you’re looking to add to your growing collection of luxury perfumes, look no further than France. After all, the best fragrances are (in our humble opinion) quintessentially French. Not only is France the birthplace of Chanel and Guerlain (the holy grails of perfume) but the hilly town of Grasse, just north of Cannes, is known as the perfume capital of the world. It has been producing two thirds of France’s aromas (both for perfumes and food flavourings) since the 16th century. Fine-tune your olfactory skills and take a tour of the Galimard and Molinard perfumeries and create your own signature scent at the Le Studio Des Parfums workshop. If you’re really keen, you can even attend a presentation on the history of fragrances at the International Perfume Museum – the only museum of its kind in the world.
The best shopping locations in charming Barcelona are found on the Gracia, Barri Gotic and Raval streets and Borne neighbourhood. The Passeig de Gracia (also known as Paseo de Gracia) is the most famous shopping avenue in Barcelona, with a plethora of high-end designer shops to explore. Bimba and Lola makes flirty, feminine clothes in high-quality fabrics and with careful detailing. As well as having international designer shops, Barcelona is home to chic independent boutiques, including La Clinique in the Borne district – a store that specialises in eccentric trainers, (unworn) sunglasses from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s and other quirky accessories. The trendy Coquette store (also in the Borne neighbourhood), sells timeless classics across a range of labels – from the local Hoss Intropia to French designers like Isabel Marant and Laurence Doligé – making it the best place to shop for a capsule wardrobe.
Renowned for traditional Inca jewellery in silver and gold and set with vibrant gemstones, Peru is where you should head to for exquisite accessories. A less crowded version of Machu Picchu, Pisac in Peru’s Sacred Valley region has a colourful second name – ‘The Artists’ District’. As well as having a community of indigenous artists and artisans, it is home to some incredible Inca ruins and lively markets, where rows of authentic, brightly-coloured Inca jewellery are displayed for you to try on. As well as satisfying your desire for necklaces, rings and bracelets that are unique by design, the Inca markets also sell hand-woven Alpaca scarves, ponchos and wraps in vibrant Peruvian fabrics. You’ll also get to see first-hand how the highly-skilled artisans craft their beautiful products, making you appreciate them all the more.
Feeling inspired? Check out our Italy fashion itinerary.