Fabulous fashion destinations
Fashion guru, Caryn Franklin and LateRooms.com have joined forces to showcase some of the most stylish places to visit for fashion fans. Together they’ve chosen a mix of established fashion destinations as well as some whose style status may come as more of a surprise….
Seen by many as a mecca for style-savvy shoppers thanks to its branches of Selfridges and Harvey Nichols, look a bit closer and you’ll find the northwest has even more to offer fashion fans searching for a chic UK shopping break.The Avenue at Spinningfields has established
itself as Manchester’s luxury retail quarter, where sophisticated shoppers can choose from upmarket brands including Kurt Geiger and Emporio Armani. In contrast, the city’s Northern Quarter is packed with one-of-a-kind shops stocking a bewildering choice of vintage clothing, jewellery and accessories, as well as being home to the famous Afflecks – a treasure trove of independent boutiques all under one roof.
If you’re a culture vulture as well as a fashion junkie, a trip to historic Bath could be just the ticket. Here you can find the Fashion Museum which holds some of the finest collections of historical fashion in the world, dating back as far as the 16th century right up to the cutting edge present day. Exhibitions change focus over time giving you a reason to go back year after year. For a touch of the high life, sneak over to nearby Mallet for a visit to the Mulberry Factory Shop, a short distance from Mulberry headquarters where the iconic leather bags are still produced. Situated in an old school house in the heart of the Somerset countryside, fans of this quintessentially British brand can snap up men’s and women’s clothing and accessories at fabulously discounted prices.
One of the fashion capitals of the world, it’s not all about the High Street in London. Portabello Road is a step back in time for style-savvy shoppers; it offers a plethora of vintage shops as well as a wide variety of market stalls that have graced the hallowed streets for decades. Further north, Camden breeds colour with unique personalities and a wide variety of independent shops, boutiques and stalls offering designs that turn heads and make headlines. If you’re a celebrity spotter, rub shoulders with the rich and famous on the famous Kings Road. Here you’ll enjoy a variety of high street and boutique stores along with quaint coffee shops to rest and recuperate in before heading over to Green Street in East London for Bollywood delights. Offering a mixture of designer and boutique fashion labels, you can feel like a princess for the day by decorating yourself with stunning Asian jewellery and luxurious fabrics.
Milan is regarded as one of the fashion capitals of the world and is a fantastic place to visit if you’re looking for fine food, fine wine and even finer fashion. With the major Italian fashion brands like Gucci, Versace, Prada and Armani headquartered in the city, you won’t be able to walk down the street without being inspired by classic cuts, sleek shapes and bold colour. The Quadrilatero Della Moda is Milan’s main fashion district, where the most prestigious shopping streets are located. Stylish visitors who want even better value for money can seek out one of the many designer outlets dotted in and around the city. Many of these are discretely located and generally frequented by those in the know – try the Dolce & Gabbana outlet on Via
Rossini or hop in a cab to Marni’s discount store, tucked away in a residential district with entry only granted by ringing a bell.
For fashionistas and socialites alike, Madrid is a must-visit. The city’s Belle Époque architecture houses so many boutiques, bars and restaurants that the narrow cobble-stoned streets buzz 24 hours a day. Home of the School of Fashion, twice a year the fashion elite travel to the Spanish capital for Madrid Fashion Week – and don’t be fooled by stereotypes of flamenco dresses and matador capes, these Spanish fashion designers are firmly on
the cutting edge. Be sure to check out the Salamanca district, which houses a host of home-grown Spanish fashion brands including
Balenciaga, Manolo Blahnik and Loewe. It also hosts the celebrated Spanish designer Ágatha Ruíz de la Prada’s boutique where punchy, colourful prints adorn homewares and men’s, women’s and children’s clothing.
Rapidly cementing its reputation as one of Europe’s newest fashion hotspots, Berlin is pushing the boundaries of 21st century style with a wealth of vintage boutiques, fashionable flea markets and high-end designer names. It also plays host to internationally acclaimed fashion industry showcases such as Bread & Butter as well as its own Fashion Week each January. Visitors after one-off fashion finds should head to one of Berlin’s bustling flea markets. The Straßedes 17 Juni is widely regarded as a cut above the rest – it’s held at weekends and offers an intriguing mix of vintage clothing and jewellery as well as art, antiques and music. A shopping trip to the German capital wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Kaufhaus
des Westens. Almost always abbreviated to KaDeWe, this monumental department store is the largest in mainland Europe. It’s home to floor after floor of fashion and accessories, as well as an opulent restaurant on the top floor, encased in glass and offering spectacular views across the city.
Until now, Kraków hasn’t been widely known as a centre of fashion, but the city’s young population casts a stylish shadow with its own distinctive dress sense. Set the scene for your visit by checking out some of the numerous ‘street style’ blogs, devoted to documenting the variety of looks seen on the city’s streets from couture sleek to shabby chic. The Old Town is the focus for much of the city’s best shopping. The historic Sukiennice, or Cloth Hall, is one of Kraków’s most recognisable Renaissance buildings and houses an array of stalls selling gifts and accessories including a wide selection of jewellery crafted from amber, Poland’s native gemstone. The side streets off the main market square are home to a tantalising mix of art and antique shops as well as some fabulous fashion boutiques.
A stylish Spanish sister to Madrid is undoubtedly Barcelona. Its sun-drenched location on the Mediterranean coast and laid-back atmosphere make it the perfect location for a short break spent strolling the streets and browsing the numerous designer boutiques, street stalls and department stores.
The majestic Passeig de Gràcia, a tree-lined avenue populated with stunning examples of Gaudi architecture as well as a wide variety of suitably chic stores should be top of the list for fashion fans. Luxurious brands like Hermes, Gucci and Chanel mix with high street favourites including Spanish stalwart Zara and many more. Head to Portal de l’Àngel to treat your feet to a selection of stylish shoes or to the Carrer Riera Baixa in the El Raval district for stores specialising in retro and second hand clothing.
Caryn Franklin has worked in fashion for 30 years. Formally a fashion editor and later co-editor of i-D magazine for six years, she is best known for presenting the BBC’s Clothes Show for 12 years and BBC’s Style Challenge for three years. She has regularly appeared on
This Morning, Lorraine and a host of other shows. She has co-chaired Fashion Targets Breast Cancer for 15 years and is co-founder of the award winning All Walks Beyond the Catwalk – a campaign and educational initiative to broaden the range of body and beauty ideals in our media. From her
consumer website www.howtolookgood.com she celebrates all bodies of all ages.
Caryn is currently working with LateRooms.com to showcase some of the most stylish places to visit for fashion fans. For the full low-down on LateRooms.com’s Destination Inspiration – a series of celebrity hosted travel events packed full of exclusive tips, travel chit-chat and short break inspiration – visit http://inspiration.laterooms.com/inspiration/