Exploring Europe’s most fashion-conscious destinations
While clothing is a global industry, historically Europe is synonymous with cutting edge fashion and – from haute couture to street style – it continues to dominate the scene. Read on, to find out more about Europe’s most fashionable cities…
Europe’s fashion capitals
Europe boasts three of the the world’s big four fashion capitals – London, Paris, and Milan – each with its own unique character and distinctive aesthetic…
The city has a long history as a global fashion leader, from the opulence of early 18th century regal attire via the rebellious Mod and punk trends to the present day. London fashion stands for breaking the mold and skilfully challenging convention. Home to Central Saint Martins College, the Royal College of Art, the London College of Fashion, and Savile Row, the classic skills of tailoring, hat-making, and shoemaking gained from these prestigious institutions underpin the eccentricity and vibrant subculture of design.
Best shopping in London: Regent Street, Bond Street, Savile Row, Spitalfields, Dover Street Market, Carnaby Street, Camden Market, Portobello Market, Liberty, Selfridges, Westfield Centre
Designers and brands associated with London: Alexander McQueen, Burberry, Jimmy Choo, Erdem, John Galliano, Stella McCartney, Sir Paul Smith, Vivienne Westwood, and Christopher Kane.
The birthplace of haute couture (high dress-making/fashion) in the 1800s, Paris was home to Coco Chanel, Christian Dior, and Yves Saint Laurent, and has a lengthy association as the very centre of global fashion. Besides this legacy, to this day, Paris-based designers are recognised as the crème de la crème.
Best shopping in Paris: Saint-Ouen flea market, Boulevard St Germain, Avenue Montaigne, Avenue des Champs-Elysées, Rue de Rivoli, Le Forum des Halles, Le Marais, Triangle d’Or
Designers and brands associated with Paris: Yves Saint Laurent, Givenchy, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Dior, Pierre Cardin, Chanel, Lacroix, Louboutin, Karl Lagerfeld, Louis Vuitton, Lanvin, Nina Ricci, Balenciaga, Balmain, Chloe, Rochas, Hermès, Olivier Rousteing, Isabel Marant, Maison Margiela, Rick Owens, A.P.C
Milan’s fashion heritage begins with quality fabric production and craftsmanship in the late 19th century. The influence of the Parisian haute couture movement was scaled back as Milan created a sophisticated prêt-à-porter (ready-to-wear) category.
Best shopping in Milan: Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Quadrilatero della Moda, the Brera district, Via Monte Napoleone, Via della Spiga
Designers and brands associated with Milan: Gucci, Prada, Miu Miu, Dolce & Gabbana, Roberto Cavalli, Fendi, Moschino, Versace, Missoni, Armani, Valentino, Gianfranco Ferrè, Etro, Giuseppe Zanotti,
Discover alternative European fashion destinations
Beyond the fashion capitals, these cities offer shopping, innovative street style, and plenty of sartorial inspiration…
Rome – the ancient city is renowned for its deluxe boutiques, primarily along Via del Condotti, and designers including Valentino, Bvlgari, Fendi and Laura Biagiotti have flagships in the city. Rome also offers vintage stores, trend-led retailers, and flea markets.
Barcelona – Barcelona is known for effortlessly chic, dressed down street style; visitors flock to Barcelona for sales in early July.
Antwerp – Antwerp’s respected Royal Academy of Fine Arts has produced a plethora of designers including Dries Van Noten, Ann Demeulemeester, Raf Simons, and Martin Margiela. Creativity is key, and street style in Antwerp tends towards bold but laidback.
Stockholm – Scandinavian It girls demonstrate effortlessly chic yet functional style – central to Swedish fashion is incorporating sustainability and eco-conscious innovation with design.
Copenhagen – While ‘Scandi-chic’ is all about pared down elegance, comfort and minimalism, Copenhagen’s style sees playful contrasts of colour, shape, texture, and print from brands such as Ganni, Stine Goya, Saks Potts and Malene Birger.
Berlin – Thriving music and art scenes attract an edgy and eclectic fashion crowd who favour a creative but minimalist aesthetic, with style kept low-key. Stop by Hackescher Markt for the weekly flea market or visit the vast Mall of Berlin
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