The best shopping experiences in the past, were characterised by physical boutiques with beautiful interiors, rare settings and top concierge services. With the waking of the digital era, the whole experience has evolved and catapulted to online shopping spree tours.
There is a myriad of boutiques on the worldwide web. This can be seemingly daunting to many, in as to where to place their shopping finger in finding the true cream of their wishes.
Europe can boast of owning a generous handful of luxury design boutiques that can cater for the latter.
The traditional channel being the physical store and the digital era one gracing our desktops, laptops and mobile phones.
Let’s take a look at elite boutiques from both the new and the old.
Elite Online Boutiques
Let us stay in our own backyard for starters.
The zest and passion for fashion of two young men, to empower individuality, saw Tydlos come to life in 2018. A multi-brand e-commerce platform.
Inspired by the idea of timeless fashion, hence the name Tydlos, the two embarked on a journey to spread awareness on topics within the genres of fashion, lifestyle and sustainability.
Tydlos.com is the home of classical and timeless designer pieces that are curated with an impeccable sense of consistency and diligence. The big designer brands make up the diverse store of this luxury boutique.
Intrigued about what the future of fashion has in store and equipped with a fearless experimental attitude, the Tydlos team are etching the online boutique of the future.
Tydlos provides the best experience for all its customers and the most important one of them being, that of keenly listening to their customer feedback.
Founded by Natalie Massenet in June 2000, this giant conglomerate has gone to become the ultimate premier luxury destination.
The United Kingdom based company has contributed hugely to its economy and as a merit, Natalie Massenet was named Dame by Prince of Wales in 2016.
As a pioneer for the online experience, NET-A-PORTER has set an example for many other stores in the e-commerce industry.
It houses all the designer brands and beauty brands imaginable and therefore, catering for a wide range of customer tastes and expectations.
Their customer service and express worldwide shipping have received good reviews, which is what makes or breaks an online store.
NET-A-PORTER merged with YOOX in October, 2015 to become known as YOOX NET-A-PORTER GROUP.
Frederico Marchetti is a former investment banker and founder of the Italian e-commerce company, YOOX.
From the year 2000, the company has been successful in creating an online fashion store that has reached more than 100 countries internationally.
The name YOOX is supposedly a play on the male chromosome Y and the female chromosome X, linked with the infinity symbol displayed as two OOs.
They cater diverse fashion tastes for women, men, kids and art.
Since 2015, YOOX is now part of the NET-A-PORTER GROUP.
(Joan and Sydney Burstein)
Joan and Sydney Burstein founded Browns in 1970 when there were no multi-brand boutiques in the UK. Browns is now an iconic British fashion luxury boutique.
Pioneers at their own right, they went on to write history with the zeal of enhancing fashion to greater heights.
The store has both physical boutiques and an online store.
In 2015, Farfetch acquired Browns and the Brown’s model has provided an environment for Farfetch to test the ‘Farfetch Store of the Future’ technology.
(Inaki, Alejandro, Pablo and David)
The sunglasses brand Hawkers was founded by 4 young Spanish men. Inaki, Alejandro, Pablo and David.
Using the power of social media, Hawkers has officially become a role model for anyone looking to start up a successful online business.
As a marketing strategy, they also came up with a powerful program called, ‘Campus Representative Program’, a group with more than 5000 students who work as brand ambassadors for Hawkers on their campuses.
Hawkers has been able to increase their presence to more than 100 countries, leveraging the power of social media and word-of-mouth.
Their website is an ocean of sunglasses, where one is spoilt for choice.
Beyond Retro is a vintage clothing boutique that began in a single warehouse retail store in East London, in 2002. Steven Bethell is the mastermind behind this unique label.
Through their commendable network success, the company has multiplied and spread its stores across the UK and Sweden.
Additionally, an e-commerce site to their name, has been established and there are no signs of them slowing down.
The vast vintage collection they offer is sourced globally by an international team of specialists that inspires a fiercely loyal fan-base geared by a trend led and sustainable clothing revolution.
Cross cultural, global diversity and the spirit of inclusiveness are the mottos that have made them trailblazers in the sustainable fashion culture and beyond.
We hope that the standards they have set can be replicated by many in finding new and ethical ways in the same.
(Christoph and Susanne Botschen)
In 1987, Christoph and Susanne Botschen established this premier luxury multi-brand store in Munich, a city well known for its affluent population. For this reason, success was written on the doorstep of Mytheresa.
Their success didn’t stop there. They went on to extend their customer base by going online in 2006 and this move has made them highly successful.
With offices situated directly above the store, Mytheresa has over 500 employees who cater for the online experience that is so well received.
Although still an independent subsidiary and still based in Munich, the Nieman Marcus Group bought Mytheresa in 2014, forming yet an illustrious portfolio to their name.
Mytheresa has grown to become one of the most innovative luxury e-commerce companies in the world.
They continue to provide the perfect space that caters for children, men and women, making them a go-to family shopping choice.
(Tom and Ruth Chapman)
Tom and Ruth Chapman are champions in the multi-brand retail scene. The couple who turned a brick-and-mortar store into a global platform have earned immeasurable success by venturing into the digital world way before it went viral.
They stock hundreds of established and emerging designers and receive millions of visitors from all over the globe.
Known as a model example of digital retail, MatchesFashion engages with style influencers who help curate themed shoppable edits and style advice online.
The company is now owned by Apax since September 2017, but the Chapmans still play a passive role behind the curtains.
Forzieri is yet another luxury destination of accessories-only e-commerce platform, that started off as a family-owned boutique in Florence, Italy in 1992.
The founder and CEO Andrea Forzieri has developed this company into a world-class online shopping landmark with more than 150 countries demanding the most craved for designer accessories.
He has even managed to successfully penetrate the almost-impossible-to-reach Chinese market, where he is well-known and making a decent margin.
Italy is a well-known cradle of artisanal creations of leather goods and this plays an advantage for the Fortieri team in curating the accessories that we see on their online platform.
Elite Physical Boutiques
L’ECLAIREUR - PARIS
L’Eclaireur is a multi-brand store with ready-to-wear accessories and designer creations in Paris, France. With pieces from well-known designers, one can also find occasional experimental limited editions, too.
Armand Hadida is the man behind the exclusivity at L’Eclaireur for over 20 years.
He has six stores including a vintage store and each one of them carries its own distinctive style. One of the branches that stocks both men and women designs, is designed by the Belgian artist and architect Arne Quinze and is an art installation in itself. Many visit the store just to enjoy the mesmerising interiors.
FEMME SISTINA – ROME
The passionate owner of Femme Sistina, Lisette Lenzi, is known for taking care of her clientele in the most royal way.
With style icons like Audrey Hepburn, Ingrid Bergman and Nicole Kidman who have visited the glamorous fashion boutique cum beauty salon, one can only start to imagine what an experience that entails.
The exquisite fashion boutique is stocked with unique, sensational one-of-a-kind pieces. Accessories, cosmetics and fragrances are also part of the glamorous collections.
A must-go-to spot for those who love Rome and the finer things in life.
DELITTO E CASTIGO – MADRID
Delitto e Castigo has been ranked by Vogue America as one of the world’s ‘Top 25 Shops’. What an honour!
With many iconic pieces that are carefully selected, the niche buyer’s tastes are met with affirmed satisfaction.
This boutique has become a bench mark of fashion and luxury for the city of Madrid.
Brands like Dior, Alexander McQueen, Emilio Pucci and Jean Paul Gaultier just to mention a few, all grace the space of Delitto e Castigo.
SUARA – BARCELONA
This fashion boutique can be summed up in one word – Sustainability!
Suara began as an online store whose success opened a retail store, too.
The trendy premises are situated on the edge of the historic Cultural Centre of Barcelona.
In collaboration with the Suara foundation that re-homes abandoned cats, a percentage of all sales go to assist the wonderful cause.
Almost all their products and creations have a cat print or image incorporated on them. A must-visit for all cat lovers out there.
Other policies that make this brand stand out from the rest are; they only sell ethical clothing, all their products are made with organic material, they are against child and forced labour, they use environmentally friendly methods of production and transportation and last but not least, their commitment to paying living wages.
This is a perfect example for the entire globe to heed.
PRÊT À PORTER – STOCKHOLM
Prêt à Porter is a high-end fashion multi-brand boutique in Stockholm.
The boutique has been around since 1973 with the mission to be the first shopping destination in Stockholm that offers exclusive, chic and fashionable, yet easily wearable clothing for women. And they have stayed true to this to today.
There is a mix of emerging and established designers at this very elegant boutique. The latest must-haves of the season and the timeless classic styles are thoughtfully curated to give a lasting impression.
Prêt à Porter – Stockholm offers the best on their palette and are keen to select their assortment to reflect their neighbourhood and lifestyle of their clients.
KNOK – BERLIN
Knok takes it to a different dimension by being Berlin’s contemporary store for Korean design – Inclusivity well done!
Thanks to the minds of the three founders from South Korea, El Salvador and Spain, Knok store was born in Berlin.
It was initially launched as an online store in 2016 and transitioned to a physical store just two years later, bringing the spirit of Seoul to the heart of Berlin’s vibrant borough of Kreuzberg.
Korea’s most promising and innovative brands emerging directly from Seoul, the burgeoning fashion capital, are featured with a curated selection.
The store offers an immersive space that blends together an exhibition space, café, store and terrace.
CAPSULA – BUDAPEST
The extraordinary collaboration of two architects and the founder of Capsula went to create a store with a mesmerising and rare contemporary boutique space.
It is the first of its kind in Budapest and boasts a powerful combination of traditional heritage elements and modern contemporary design.
One has the experience of stepping into an exhibition kind of scenario, where all the interior design elements and fashion design pieces marry to a unified composition.
The intentions of the store creators were to stimulate the senses and bring a new feel to the traditional shopping experience – and yes, they did.
The Future of Luxury Shopping
Shopping is an essential part of life for all people near and far and technology has the power to shape this experience in unimaginable ways.
Many elite boutiques have shaped the architecture of the shopping experience for both the consumer and producer. The standards that have been set, will hopefully be an encouragement and teacher for future generations.
What the future holds for this vast industry, can only be anticipated with great expectation.