Seven Cool Places To Pick Up Something Before You Fly Home For The Holidays

Paris 

Parisians may have their nose in the air a lot, but let’s admit it; they look good while doing it. The city plays a central role in the fashion world and a stroll down any of the “arrondissements” is enough to know why.

Head to Avenue des Champs Elysees and among an array of designer labels, chic cocktail lounges and luxury car showrooms, you can also visit the largest Louis Vuitton store in the world. Next in line is the Rue Saint Honore where you will find classic fashion houses like YSL and Hermes. But also make sure to steer away from the designer wear to visit concept stores like Colette that houses men’s and women’s fashion, electronics, books and music all under one roof.

Paris is also known for its larger than life departmental stores. On Boulevard Haussman you will find the seven-story Galeries Lafayette. The store hosts its own fashion show every Friday, which is free but requires reservation. Another department store to visit on the same street is Au Printemps, which has the world’s largest beauty department. To complete the triangle, is Le Bon Marche, known for its enormous section of gourmet food.

For art and antiques, visit Le Marais, a district home to many art galleries. Unique antiques are available at Le Louvre des Antiquaires, located beside the Louvre. Bookworms should visit the small shops in Sorbonne, to browse first-edition French Literature.

London
Gloomy weather doesn’t stop this city from being fashion forward. According to the Globe Shopper Index, London is ranked as the top European city for shopping in terms of both quantity of shops and availability of international and local brands.

Oxford Street is probably the first place to visit. It has high-end chains like Topshop and H&M as well as department stores like Selfridges and Debenhams. Bond’s Street is another area for boutiques, designer shops and even luxury jewellery like Tiffany & Co. and De Beers. But of course, when it comes to jewellery, nothing beats the world famous Harrods, located in the Knightsbridge area.

Next to Bond’s Street station is Grays Antique Market, an indoor market that holds one of the largest collections of antique jewellery in the world. Men folk must make a stop at Saville Row, known for its men’s wear and custom tailors. Henry Poole Co., the first Saville Row tailor, also credited for inventing the tuxedo, is one of them.

For more unique finds, visit North West London’s Camden Town. Emerging designers, art, furniture, jewellery and even second hand clothes are found in the many open air and indoor markets there.
New York
Spend a little or spend a lot, either way New York has something for you to buy. The city’s diverse populace gives way for style ranging from classy to crazy, all of which are in fashion nevertheless.

To start, there are the department stores. Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, Barney’s, Bergdorf Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue – which has a 24-hour flagship Apple store – are popular names heard over the years.

Follow this by taking a walk down Madison Avenue. Impersonate Carrie Bradshaw if you have to, and choose from the numerous restaurants, spas, salons and of course designer stores to pamper yourself in.

Visit SoHo for bargain based shopping. The place is great for shoes and basic fashion buys. The Brooklyn Flea in Williamsburg is also popular for second hand bargains and vintage finds. You can find more vintage on Orchard Street in the Lower East Side.

If shopping is big on your agenda, then sign up for a self-guided shopping tour on shop-nyctours.com, where you can get an emailed itinerary complete with a map and directions. Choose from a variety of thematic ones or a custom made tour depending on what you want to buy. Also check out New York Magazine for the city’s sale stampedes that are held at ungodly hours.

Tokyo
The quirky, off beat fashion that fills the streets of Tokyo can either amuse you or alarm you. But either way, it will inspire you. And if techie is your middle name, you will be happy to know that this city is gizmo paradise.

Saunter around the streets of Tokyo and you are sure to stumble into many a hidden gem. Like Harcoza, a boutique located in Shibuya-ku. The store features an eclectic selection of products including necklaces made from melted rubber balls and bonsai trees fashioned into watches.

Head to Ginza district where glittering showrooms displaying the latest high-tech gadgets, departmental stores and galleries will welcome you. You can also accomplish some shopping on Omotesando.

But for a mammoth shopping experience, visit the global chain Isetan in Shinjuku. The department store is spread across eight separate buildings. They have English, Chinese and Korean speaking staff and offer a personalised interpretation service. Also available on reservation are shopping consultants who can apparently advise you on everything from shoes to fish.

Dubai
This is the city where the largest mall in the world sits at the foot of the tallest tower in the world. Breaking world records is something that has become second nature to Dubai. The first being luxury.

Reserve a whole day to scale the record breaking Dubai Mall. It is 12.1 million square feet in size of which 96,000 square feet belongs to Level Shoe District, the world’s largest shoe store that apparently sells 600 pairs of shoes every day. Apart from the 1200 stores, the mall also has one of the largest indoor aquariums, an ice rink, an arcade and a multiplex. The mall is also the gateway to visit the Burj Khalifa.

Also make a trip to the older areas of city like the gold souk in Deira and Meena Bazaar in Bur Dubai, which is crowded with Indian and Pakistani shops selling textiles and spices among other things. For a cheap shopping thrill, visit the Karama Market, which is a haven for pseudo designer products.

If you visit between October and March, go to Global Village, a huge fair that features country specific tents. To get the best of shopping in Dubai, make a trip in January when the Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) will take place.

Madrid
Football aside, this city is one of Spain’s best cities to shop in. While Spanish brands like Zara and Mango, have taken over the shopping scene in other cities, there is a lot more to shopping in Spain.

Calle Preciados is the centre for designer-wear. The original outlet of the famed El Corte Ingles department store is located here. Word is that if you can’t find something in El Corte Ingles, it is unlikely that you will find it anywhere else. The stores are gigantic enough to be considered districts of their own.

Another popular shopping spot is the Salamanca district, which has international boutiques like Armani, Versace, Hermes and Hugo Boss, especially on Calle Serrano.
Every Sunday, the most popular open-air flea market in Spain is held along Plaza de Cascorro and Ribera di Curtidores. There is a main street with stalls and then there are the side streets that apparently contain the “real treasures.” From antiques to accessories, clothes to curios, the market has a stall for everything.

Milan
The list of shopping destinations would not be complete without Milan. Being one of the fashion capitals in the world, Milan is always one step ahead of the trends. After all, it is the city that labels like Versace, Armani and Prada call home.

Milan’s prime fashion district is called Quadrilatero della moda. This is where you will the finest street abounding in designer labels, Via Montenapoleone. A worthwhile visit even if you don’t plan on opening your wallet.

The great thing about shopping in a fashion capital is that even discount shopping includes high-end fashion. Il Salvagente (translates to “the lifesaver”) is Milan’s best known and longest established outlet with three floors featuring discounts up to 60%.

One of the oldest shopping malls in the world is right here in this fashion capital. The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is a four-story building that was built in the 1860s. Once you get through the shopping, enjoy a cappuccino on the terrace.

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