International fashion, art and design illuminati flock to this multifaceted complex, which has been brandishing its sophistication and edginess since the early ’90s. Hidden in a quiet courtyard in the heart of Milan, this design haven is also a luxury-fashion boutique, bookstore, art gallery, courtyard cafe and a three-suite hotel all rolled into one.
The Apartment, New York
Like its name suggests, this light-filled showroom resembles an ultra-chic loft abode in Soho, stocking rarefied fashion, beauty and interior objects in a refined apartment layout – the walk-in wardrobe, for example, is devoted to new and emerging labels. Book ahead or drop by on The Apartment’s opening days from Tuesdays to Sundays.
Distilling the creative essence of its historic neighbourhood into its sprawling 1,200 sq m space, this next-generation emporium showcases a globetrotting collection of designers and artisans, also mixing an on-site perfumery, bespoke tailoring services and a wine cellar within its warren-like network of interconnected spaces. Its 155 Bar & Kitchen is also a destination in itself for inventive cuisine.
An eye-popping selection of edgy merchandise is housed in this three-storey cult boutique, which remains as avant-garde today as when it debuted in 1997. It stocks high-fashion designer wear, indie magazines, rare perfumes and quirky collaborations with designers such as Karl Lagerfeld (Barbie and Ken dolls) and Stance (socks). There’s even a bar in the basement serving over 100 different brands of water from around the world.
The stomping ground of the city’s hip set, this quirky boutique-cafe is where Vietnam’s creative spirit shines through. Nestled in a storied 19th-century building that was once Hotel de Saigon, the light-filled space is now punctuated with houseware and clothing by homegrown designers. Come for the fashion, but stay for the contemplative exhibitions and a strong brew of Vietnamese coffee in the airy cafe.
Nannie Inez, Austin
This whimsical shop has a decidedly global focus, featuring everything from colourful French linen napkins and glass tea cups from Japan to Danish lounge chairs. Within this contemporary minimalist enclave, it’s easy to get lost among the beautiful handpicked products and be hard-pressed not to buy a thing.
The creative trio behind Souq – Peter, his wife Sophie, plus good friend Sigrid – have an innate eye for quality design, filling the expansive warehouse-like space with such coveted items as artisan rattan chairs and intricate earrings crafted by Balinese silversmiths. The cosy cafe tucked away in one corner also bears the owners’ tight editing in menu and quality – the potted salmon bagel with tarragon cream cheese and fennel comes highly recommended.