Travel guide: Fashion capitals of the world
ELLE Canada explores the best places to eat and stay in the world's most stylish fashion capitals.
The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Italy’s oldest shopping mall in Milan.
Where to stay Much like one of its namesake’s suits, the Armani Hotel Milano (milan.armanihotels.com) is a slickly tailored exercise in understated luxury. Designed by local boy Giorgio himself, it’s La Dolce Vita reimagined in a palette of taupes and highly polished surfaces.
Book the Armani Milano Suite, with its private terrace, view of the fabled Duomo and massive walk-in closet. Select the "Luxury Shopping Package" and you’ll need that space after an Armani emissary brings the designer’s latest looks to your room-no need to stir from that butter-soft-leather couch, signorina!
On your doorstep is a fashionista’s dream hunting ground: The hotel is located in the "quadrilatero della moda," this fashion capital’s "golden rectangle." Shop five streets jam-packed with the world’s biggest design houses, from Burberry to Chanel. (Text by Sarah Laing)
Give your Ferragamos a rest and hop into a luxury chauffeured car for a shopping spree with Milano Fashion Tour (milanofashiontour.com). Whether you’re looking for vintage treasure or some designer – studio hopping, your English-speaking guide will tailor the day’s itinerary to your every shopping whim. Champagne included.
Where to stay The Trump International Hotel (trumphotelcollection.com), on the posh Upper West Side, is the epitome of seriously swanky digs. For a lesson in trust-fund extravagance, book the three-night Great Gatsby experience ($14.999) and party like you’re an ingenue from a Fitzgerald novel in a palatial Central Park-view suite.
Ideal for couples, the package outfits gentlemen with a pair of art-deco-inspired cufflinks and a custom-tailored suit from Bergdorf Goodman; ladies receive an onyx-and-shagreen cuff from Ivanka Trump. Cap off your stay with a bottle of Veuve Clicquot and dinner at the restaurant Jean-Georges.
Exhausted after a long day of luxury? Relax in the newly revamped spa, the hotel’s literal crown jewel-it features the Harmonizing Gemstone Treatment, using oils infused with diamonds, rubies, amethysts and sapphires. (Text by Vanessa Craft)
Get your fresh fashion straight from the source. Wardrobe stylist Pilar Katz, a.k.a. Shopping Girlfriend NYC (shoppinggirlfriendnyc.com), will take you into the showrooms of NYC’s Garment District, where you can purchase
one-of-a-kind pieces practically out of the designer’s own hands.
It’s a three-hour expedition that concentrates on the four-block radius between West 35th and West 40th streets. The sales are often cash only, so come prepared!
Where to stay There are few occasions when using the words "sun-dappled" don’t justify an immediate eye roll, if not a punch in the nose. But at the Pavillon de la Reine (pavillon-de-la-reine.com), that’s the best way to describe the lovely stone courtyard that sits in front of the 16th-century building, which is tucked away off Place des Vosges, the oldest square in
Inside the hotel, the ambience is just as rarefied. The Fireplace Salon is home to a well-stocked honesty bar, while afternoon tea is served in the Library Salon amid marble fireplaces, art-deco chandeliers and the complete works of Victor Hugo (who wrote Les Misérables just across the square).
The poetry continues in the guest rooms-some with canopy beds, all with floor-to-ceiling windows – where one could picture Rimbaud putting down his quill and taking his snifter of brandy to the soaker tub (now banked by HD TVs).
If you consider yourself a stylish gourmand, sign up for the hotel’s Paris for Foodies package, which includes a walking tour of the Marais area’s top spots for caviar and chocolate.
The tour concludes at the famed Thé des Écrivains tea house, which offers lit-inspired blends, including the Tea of 2,000 Years of Literature. (Text by Laura deCarufel)
Check out Paris’ other architecture in Behind the Seams: An Indiscreet Look at the Mechanics of Fashion at the Museum of Decorative Arts (lesartsdecoratifs.fr).
It’s a special exhibition about all the ways we’ve sculpted and squeezed our bodies with shapewear over the past millennium-from rare 14th-century corsetry to a complete history of men’s flies. From July 4 to November 24, 2013.
Where to stay There’s a story for every major room in Brown’s Hotel (brownshotel.com), in London’s swanky Mayfair, from the parlour, where Queen Victoria took her tea every afternoon, to the Donovan bar, where Winston Churchill was a regular.
It’s impossible not to be impressed by the sophisticated English grandeur and old-world charm. Book the Kipling suite, where Rudyard Kipling finished writing The Jungle Book, and then head to the hotel’s famed HIX Mayfair restaurant. (We recommend the roasted scallops with hedgerow garlic.)
Wander down Bond Street for a fashionable romp in stores like Prada, Chanel and Céline, and top it off with a macaron from Ladurée. You may not make the history books, but it’s definitely an experience you’ll never forget. (Text by Alannah O’Neill)
Relive the eccentricity and excess of London’s ’80s fashion scene with the Victoria and Albert Museum’s exhibit Club to Catwalk (vam.ac.uk). It promises to be chock full of madcap style, such as dancing dresses designed specifically for men and iconic studded denim by Brit legend Vivienne Westwood. From July 10, 2013, to February 16, 2014.