A material whirl: eight great shopping cities
|Gorgeously photogenic babouches, leather slippers |
from Marrakech, Morocco
Belinda Jackson lists eight favourite destinations at which to arrive with empty bags.
Busted your luggage allowance lugging home a treasure only to find it in your local 'hood? The best shopping is a rejection of globalisation: it's about going back to the source or finding something that only that city or country can provide.
Basking in a design renaissance, London's smoking-hot fashion and design is being peddled by a James Bond (Daniel Craig), a welter of celebrated sportsmen and the new baby Windsor.
Locals love Stylist and personal shopper Rachel Meddowes says London's hottest strip is Chiltern Street, in Marylebone, W1. "It's a return to a coterie of small, chic, beautifully designed and curated shops including fabulous Tyler Brule's the Monocle Cafe, Cire Trudon for the best candles, uber-cool men's boutique Trunk, and Atlas Gallery, for its photographs. If I had to say one shop, it would be Mouki (mouki-london.com) for its stylish, insider brands of women's fashion and lifestyle."
Must-visit Selfridges is home to the world's largest women's and men's shoe departments. Its new Denim Studio includes a free denim doctor to help women find their perfect pair of jeans from 60 brands. The Conran Shop (including the newly refurbished Marylebone store, conranshop.co.uk) and Liberty (liberty.co.uk) are design stalwarts.
Local hero For a catch-all day of browsing, use the cobbled Seven Dials, north of Covent Garden, as your compass point and branch out (sevendialsco.uk). Check out Cambridge Satchel Company (cambridgesatchel.com), Sienna Miller's Twenty8Twelve (twenty8twelve.com) or, for a village vibe, Neal's Yard.
Wild card The flagship Burberry Bespoke (burberry.com) has more than 100 screens flashing your customised trench on the catwalk or in a movie, in-between sporadic digital thunderstorms.
The bellwether of ice-cool design, you can't visit Stockholm without admiring the masters' design ethic.
Locals love "To get to the heart of modern Stockholm, head over to SoFo - South of Folkungagatan Street (sofo-stockholm.se) - with a profusion of fashion and interior designers with antique and vintage clothing shops, trendy bars and restaurants," says Birgitta Palmer, of the Stockholm Visitors Board.
Must-visit Get your head into Swedish living space at Svenskt Tenn (svenskttenn.se), your stationery fix at Ordning&Reda (ordning-reda.com) and gifts at DesignTorget (designtorget.se).
Local hero Cruise Acne Studios' flagship store and V Ave Shoe Repair for the ultimate in Swedish fashion (acnestudios.com; vave-shoerepair.com). Every self-respecting Swedish child wears Polarn O. Pyret, designer of unisex, hard-wearing children's clothes (polarnopyret.com). And who can say no to Bjorn Borg-designed knickers (bjornborg.com)?
Wild card Uncover the next big thing or total trash at the weekend market Street, in Sodermalm. A tip from Sean Naughton, concierge at Benny Andersson's Hotel Rival (www.rival.se): if you can't afford the heavyweight fashion names of Bibliotekstan, score discounted fashion at Barkaby outlet centre (qualityoutlet.com/in-english).
Tap into the Thai design aesthetic - it's cheeky and cute, and if you don't leave Bangkok with a bag full of silk, you're just not trying.
Locals love "Post-Nerd [Siam Square] is a favourite for cool T-shirts with unusual designs," says Bangkok resident Mark Thomson, of Anantara hotels. "Also Propaganda, which is home to Mr P, who appears in anatomically correct cartoon lamps and other ... products." (propagandaonline.com).
Must-visit Siam Discovery, in the cluster of Siam Square malls, has been recently made-over with an edgy open plan; several floors are given over to Thailand's fashion designers. It's also the home of Madame Tussauds Bangkok. The massive Chatuchak market is in every guidebook, allegedly the world's largest weekend market. Grab a map at the entrance before you dive in (chatuchak.org).
Local hero A perennial favourite is FotoFile, for fantastic new and second-hand camera gear in the beloved, budget-easy MBK mall. Unlike the rest of MBK, prices are fixed and labelled.
Wild card Take home the scent of a Thai spa with success story Thann, whose lush products feature Asian ingredients: think jasmine blossom, tamarind, rice-bran oil and nutmeg. Find them in all the major malls and a new Thann cafe at level 3, Gaysorn Plaza.
The Philippines has a special flair that makes it an interior design powerhouse and, of course, shoes are a hot item.
Locals love Bespoke menswear and womenswear designer Joey Samson loves three homewares stores. A11 comprises three townhouses that are a furniture and design gallery (F.B. Harrison Street, Pasay). AC+632 stocks Gallic homewares with a Philippines twist, including excellent tassels (Greenbelt 5, Makati), while W17 is a celebration of Asian interiors using local materials (w17home.com).
Must-visit Cram your bags with South Sea pearls in all shapes and sizes, from just a few dollars each (Greenhills market, San Juan). For upmarket indigenous design visit revered jeweller Arnel Papa, whose materials may include buffalo horn and ebony wood (Greenbelt 5, Makati).
Local hero Alice Blue soy candles capture the scent of sampaguita, the Philippines' national flower (Glorietta 3, Makati), while the omnipresent SM (which stands for Shoemart) fits any tastepoint, from ballet flats to nightclub dagger heels, at great prices (sm-shoemart.com).
Wild card Score a pre-loved, genuine-label handbag from Bagaholic. Expect Chanel and Gucci with serial numbers if you can bear to carry last year's hottest tote (Almeda Arcade Building, Makati, bagaholic.com.ph).
For breathtaking colour and exotic motifs Indian shopping is in a league of its own, from haute couture to Hindi kitsch.
Locals love Fiona Caulfield, author of India's definitive shopping guides including Love Delhi, tips three hot locales: Meharchand Market, Khan Market and ShapurJat of Hauz Khas. "Snigdha Shekhar has created one of the best interior and lifestyle stores in Delhi at Artisan Luxe," she says. (Meherchand Market, Lodhi Road.)
Must-visit Shop for contemporary homewares at Khan Market's Good Earth then take a break in its excellent rooftop cafe, Latitude 28 (goodearth.in).
Local hero Bring India's eye-popping colour home with beautiful textiles: hunt down your wallet-friendly Indian wardrobe of cotton kurtas (long shirts) and salwars (trousers) in Fabindia (Khan Market) or Anokhi (www.anokhi.com). Stay ahead of the pack at Alecca Carrano's Drawing Room for shawls and wraps (aleccacarrano.com).
Wild card "Run by the Crafts Council of India, Kamala is the new face of craft in India. This beautifully curated collection is sourced directly from artisans," Caulfield says. "Superb shopping!" (craftscouncilofindia.org.)
Though dubbed "the Paris of the Pampas", the city maintains its own colourful character, and those pampas turn out some mighty fine leather to boot. Or rug. Or bag.
Locals love "Buenos Aires' hottest spot to shop is jewellery atelier Celedonio [Uraguay 1223, Recoleta]," trend hunter Lucia Radeljak says. "Celedonio Lohidoy's signature pieces are baroque necklaces with precious stones and pearls. He has collaborated with international fashion houses Kenzo and Ungaro, and his store is worth visiting for its garden alone."
Must-visit Hunters of antiques and atmosphere head to San Telmo antique fair to scour old vinyls and snap up such must-haves as cobblers' lasts and local jewellery (Sundays, Plaza Dorrego, San Telmo).
Local hero The best cowhide rugs are Argentine: try Calma Chicha (calmachicha.com). Too heavy? Beautiful leather bags are found at tiny Humawaca (humawaca.com).
Wild card Hit Av Suipacha, aka "sweater street", and shop for the lightest cashmere or pick up a pair of hand-made tango shoes on Av Esmerelda, which runs parallel.
Breathe deeply and steel yourself for a shopping extravaganza. Don't rush at the first shop off the main square, Djemma el-Fna. You'll regret it.
Locals love Akbar Delights is pricey, but the fine embroidery and detailed clothing are well worth it, says Marrakesh-based artist Dawn Boys-Stone. Warda la Mouche (127 Rue Kennaria) is great for women's and children's clothes in traditional Moroccan style with modern fabrics.
Must-visit Shoe lovers know that Atika crafts hand-made leather shoes in classical Occidental styles (34 Rue de la Liberte, Gueliz).
Local hero Marrakesh's antiques scene is fantastic. Try Mustapha Blaoui (142-4 Rue Bab Doukkala).
Wild card Love leather? Go the ornate local leather slippers, babouches, found on most street corners, in traditional yellow or every shade of the rainbow.
So close to us, Jakarta remains a mystery for most. Persevere: it throws up seriously desirable oddities, and its midnight mall sales are legendary.
Locals love "Otoko is a hidden gem of a boutique amongst all the big malls in Jakarta," says Susanna Perini, of Biasa. "It stocks menswear only and presents a unique experience when you visit. The store has great synergy ... a sense of 'quiet luxury' with a sleek and contemporary design."
Must-visit Locals adore Jakarta's malls and are serious international label devotees, though even the biggies, such as Grand Indonesia (grand-indonesia.com), have Indonesian Fashion Avenues for local designers. Geeks on a budget make for Ambassador Mall.
Local hero The Bali-based Biasa label (biasabali.com) serves up soft, deconstructed men's and women's fashion on Jalan Kemang, Jakarta's boutique strip, where you'll also find local designers.
Wild card Visit the colourful bird market (Pasar Pramuka) and the nearby antique market (Pasar Surabaya); you totally need that old map, stuffed animal and brass betel nut-cracker.