The Bulgari Curiosity Shop, Rome
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Back in 1905, well before Bulgari was synonymous with extravagant jewellery, founder Sotirio Bulgari opened The Old Curiosity Shop on Rome’s via dei Condotti. It offered was an eclectic mix of products, everything from ancient antiques and jewels to beautiful perfume bottles and traditional Mediterranean clothing. Now, in an homage to Sotirio, an updated Curiosity Shop has opened next door to the flagship store. One half of the shop features warm tones, wood and retro furnishings while the other is sleeker, with marble, leather and a minimalist design. On its shelves and within the drawers lining the walls you’ll find extravagant objects and unique Bulgari creations.
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Being the iconic brand’s first foray across the river to create a left bank store, the new Hermes store opened in 2011 had to impress and impress it did, when it opened its doors on Rue de Sèvres. This isn’t your ordinary luxury multi-level interiors store – the woven waves of basket-like ash wood lattice formations that snake through the store are a nod to the space’s former life as a swimming pool and give the store a decidedly contemporary character. Photo: RDAI Architects
The Apartment by The Line, New York
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It’s no accident that this somewhat secret store models a real life apartment. Aiming to put items into their ‘context’, shoppable wares are arranged as they might be in your home, complete with a fully-equipped bedroom, bathroom and kitchen space. Visit this third-level loft (which is by appointment only, thank you very much) and uncover pieces from local designers as well as antique inclusions spanning sheets to soap.
Dover Street Market, London
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As the retail arm of innovative Japanese label Comme des Garçons, it’s not surprising that the riotous merchandising of this London concept store has the distinct markings of founder Rei Kawakubo and husband Adrian Joffee in every corner. The relocated Haymarket store is littered with inventive displays and the work of prominent graphic designers regularly features in the store’s shopfronts. There’s even a café, Rose Bakery, on the store’s upper level, which has a charming view over London’s rooftops.
TDE. Apartment, Sydney
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Designed with a real-life apartment in mind, this store from monogrammed leather goods brand The Daily Edited cleverly harnesses a residential feeling for the division of its retail spaces. There’s The Sitting Room, which displays everyday must-haves like iPhone cases, The Study where desk organisers and notebooks find a suitable home and finally, The Bedroom, where handbags beg you to buy them.
Graanmarkt 13, Antwerp
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This palatial space is so much more than a store that stocks designer goods – it’s also a hub of creativity and culture, where Belgians gather for exhibitions and chatter over clinked glasses in the basement bar. Case in point: in the same building as wares from Marni, Common Projects and Mansur Gavriel is a restaurant that serves the spoils of local farmers.
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In Paris’ Marais arrondisement, there’s very little that isn’t on offer in this former wallpaper factory. Enter the tripled-levelled store through a charming cobbled courtyard (with a red Fiat cinquecento parked out the front to boot) and you’re sure to walk out with something – it could be anything from a ready-to-wear gown to a ballpoint pen or a tiny ensemble from French childrenswear brand Bonpoint.
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Melbourne is oft referred to as our nation’s fashion capital and with multi-brand collections like the one displayed on Little Collins Street’s Marais, it’s not a stretch to see why. Collating high fashion brands like Lanvin, Givenchy and Viktor & Rolf in a sleek, European-slanted space. Did we mention the store also houses a dedicated shoe room?
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Edgy, fashion-forward and well and truly part of the style set’s go-to, there are three areas that make up the Antonia experience in Milan: the women’s, men’s and accessories section. The galleria-style store is particularly sleek, leaving luxury labels to do the talking – think Celine, Balenciaga and Isabel Marant.
Acne Studios, Stockholm
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The flagship of refined minimalist Swedish brand Acne Studios, this Norrmalmstorg Square store captures the effortless elegance of the internationally lauded label. The former bank has been given modern overhauled with a wealth of high-sheen stainless steel and sleek marble, an appropriate architectural reflection of the effortless edge of the brand’s typically austere clothing.
Le Bon Marché, Paris
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If you’re going to shop, you should shop in Paris. And if you’re going to shop in Paris, you should shop at Le Bon Marché. Considered to be the world’s oldest department store, spending money here is like investing in a piece of history. Although luxury labels like Chloe, Marni and Proenza Schouler are given pride of place on the ground floor, the elegant sweep of escalators is worth a visit alone.
Liberty of London, London
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It’s the distinct feeling of heritage that makes this cavernous multi-level department store feel like an indispensable slice of the London shopping scene. That, and the fact it’s brimming with sought-after labels such as Givenchy, Valentino and Fendi. Tucked inside a mock-Tudor building that dates back to 1924 and built around a light well that throws sunshine across the internal balconies of the five-level store, this Grade II listed building is full of surprises – some of the original fireplaces still feature, for example.
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Seemingly fluttering in a breeze blowing through the streets of Seoul’s Gangnam district, this 20-metre-tall fibreglass façade gives this store-meets-gallery space seriously futuristic cachet. Designed by architect Christian de Portzamparc, the curved exterior panels are meant to evoke the movement of a Dior haute couture piece. Photo: Christian de Portzaparc
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With origins dating back to 1930, visiting the bricks and mortar store of this enticing mish-mash of bold fashion labels can’t be replicated by adding a few things to your virtual cart. It’s the inventive mix of street and ready-to-wear labels that make LUISAVIAROMA an enduring favourite. That, and the fact it has pioneered labels like KENZO first and an on-site cocktail bar.
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Forget the eternally chic palette of white and black – Belgian fashion store Enes keeps colour at the forefront. Incorporating ‘Coca-Cola red’, ‘Gauloise blue’, along with dark greens and pop of pinks into the interiors isn’t the only unique inclusions in this townhouse-based boutique. The purposefully ‘homely’ store still has a bathroom and full kitchen, which is utilised as another display area. There’s also a bar in the store, which, although it isn’t a standard add-on to a home, is a welcome addition.
Miu Miu, Tokyo
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You could almost miss the architectural genius of this Herzog & de Meuron designed building in Tokyo’s Aoyama area. The ‘lid’ of the gift-box exterior is left slightly ajar, beckoning you inside. Once you enter, you’ll be treated to curved, smooth copper surfaces – everything from the walls to the rails and seating legs are accented with the luminous material.
The Row, Los Angeles
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Known for its subtle and simple brand of modernity, clothing brand The Row’s first store displays the same elegant restraint but with a breeze of California cool. More akin to the home of a Hollywood heavyweight than a clothing boutique, the store is wrapped around a courtyard with a shallow outdoor pool and an olive-tree.
The Store, Berlin
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Like the charmingly cluttered lounge room of a very cool friend, you can’t just wander in off the street and start shopping at this expansive store. Located the private members’ club of Soho House, this Berlin retail space doesn’t just keep goods on racks, there’s also a beauty salon, barber shop and café too. Labels as varied as Vetements, Joseph and Alexander Wang are all stocked here and timeless as opposed to trendy is always favoured.
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Even if you don’t set foot in this Netherlands-based outpost, you’ll have a unique Chanel experience. The façade is unlike any other in the world: with the upper level composed of traditional brick, the exterior starts to descend completely into glass, with replica transparent bricks held together with clear, high-strength glue.
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Over two floors of gleaming white walls, ceilings and floors, Vienna’s Park is like a library of avant-garde creators. Designs by Raf Simons, Haider Ackermann and Maison Martin Margiela hang from the racks but fashion isn’t the store’s only drawcard – the 500 square-metre store also stocks books, magazines and interiors that are equally as cool as the clothing.