Love of clothing adds a whole other dimension to travel. Sitting at a café table, watching the world go by, in one of the fashion capitals of the world, is a fashionista education for which there is no substitute. Experiencing the culture of a great city helps you understand the influences which shape design and browsing the boutiques is fuel for inspiration, even if you can’t afford to buy half of what you want. So, if you love clothing, design and fashion, if you’re a fashionista, here are five destinations that you should definitely visit.
According to the latest analysis by the Global Language Monitor, New York is the fashion capital of the decade and its 5000 industry showrooms exceed that of any other city. There’s a vast diversity of fashion on offer in this intoxicating city. Head to Fifth Avenue, where you can literally breakfast at Tiffany’s, and Madison Avenue for exclusive high-end shopping or check out the small boutiques on the lower east side for something more affordable. The museum at FIT has a permanent collection of important clothing as well as regular exhibitions and it’s free.
Despite what internet analysis may say, for most people, Paris will always be the world’s fashion capital. The Haute Couture fashion week, held every June, is still the main event of the fashion world and of course the city is home to so many famous fashion names. Browse the boutiques on the Champs-Elysees or the Rue du Faubourg Saint Honore or head to Colette for designer clothes at reduced prices or wander the vast and beautiful stores like Galeries Lafayette or simply sit and watch the fashionable Parisians pass by.
London has a gritty, idiosyncratic fashion style all of its own, typified by designers such as Vivienne Westwood, Stella McCartney, Jimmy Choo and Manolo Blahnik. The London Fashion Week, held in September, and The Clothes Show, which takes place in Carnaby Street, are both key events on the fashion calendar. Lose yourself in the 300 shops on Oxford Street or the 330 departments of Harrods or head over to Camden Market for every variety of punk and goth inspired fashion. For a more sedate education check out the fashion collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum, it’s the largest in the world.
This great city has so much to offer in terms of art, gastronomy and culture and it’s also home to the ‘golden triangle’ where in the space of just four streets you’ll find the boutiques and workshops of some of the world’s biggest names in fashion. The Milano Unica is a trade fair dedicated to clothing and accessories and the bi-annual Milan Fashion Week is a major event, get a ticket if you can.
The least obvious choice on this list, Lisbon is the most up and coming capital in Europe. Recent years have seen huge foreign investment transform this wonderful city by the sea into one of Europe’s most exciting destinations. Unlike the other destinations on this list, this is a city where you can afford to linger, so consider booking some accommodation and take the time to explore what Lisbon bus tours has to offer. The iconic Ribeiro da Cunha Palace has been reborn as Embaixada and in it you’ll discover a cornucopia of fashion and design. Most boutiques, and there are enough of them to keep you busy for days, are in the old quarters of Rossio, Baixa, Chiado, Barrio-Alto, Alfama and Lapa. Be sure you explore the city’s amazing vintage shops, the most famous of which is El Dorado on Rua do Norte.