Online shopping may be thriving, but the world is awash with swanky boutiques offering indulgent fantasies of every type to the wellheeled and the dreamer synthroid tablets online. KARYS WEBBER picks some of the best

Chanel, Paris


For fashion lovers, no one tops Chanel of course, and while a visit to any of the iconic fashion house’s worldwide boutiques is a treat, for the most hedonistic experience it must be the Avenue Montaigne store in Chanel’s home city, Paris. A stone’s throw away from the legendary Coco Chanel’s old living quarters at Rue Cambon, the 600 square metre store, designed by Chanel’s resident architect and interior designer Peter Marino, is in fact partly inspired by Mademoiselle Chanel’s apartment, echoing the timeless modernity and elegance which epitomises the brand. Tweed wall panels, rock crystal chandeliers by Goossens, pearl embroidered curtains and Ingrid Donat coffee tables come together inside the store which centres around a theatrical double height space devoted to the most precious of accessories and exceptional pieces from the Métiers d’Art collections. Adjoining rooms offer up two spaces dedicated to watches, two to accessories, one showcasing shoes and a VIP salon, whilst the first floor houses the ready-to-wear collection. The classic Chanel colour scheme of pearly whites, glossy blacks, beiges and gold is as evident as ever with contemporary works of art from the likes of Idris Khan, Jean-Michael Othoniel and Mark Swanson thrown in for good measure.

Harry Winston, Paris


Arguably the most hedonistic item to purchase, diamonds are of course a girl’s best friend and nowhere more so than at Harry Winston’s Shanghai Pavilion. The 80-year-old luxury brand, renowned for being the jeweller to the stars, opened the unique store in the prestigious XinTianDi district in 2012, designed with the aim of creating “an experience that was both intimate and monumental”, according to New York-based architect William Sofield. The freestanding boutique aptly shimmers like a jewel from the outside with much of the façade clad in zigzagging panels of clear and misted gold glass, and features a carved stone gateway (a reinterpretation of Shanghai’s historic Shikumen style). Inside, shoppers are greeted by a soaring two-storey oval atrium with a black and white marble floor that references the brand’s Fifth Avenue store. Chinese architecture and its shape-shifting approach to space is cited as part of the design inspiration and as a result few of the shop’s walls are set at right angles and no room is perfectly square, meaning the store appears to evolve before your eyes. Dedicated areas for the brand’s signature collections (such as Sunflower and Cluster) and the High Jewellery collections are each designed with individual materials and colour palettes to compliment the pieces. The store also features a custom-designed Bridal Bar and, for the first time, a designated Timepiece Salon complete with LED screens which display behind-the-scenes footage of the watch development.

Gastón y Daniela, Madrid


Founded in Bilbao in 1876 and still owned by the same family, Gastón y Daniela is a treasure trove of textiles housed in a grand former mansion in Madrid. The store offers over 40,000 fabrics ranging from contemporary designs (like the new Uptown collection inspired by the use of geometric patterns between the 1930s and 1960s) to unique heritage fabrics from their extensive archives. You can peruse luscious silks, intricate brocades and rich damasks at your leisure whilst enjoying a cup of coffee or a glass of sherry (depending on the hour), which the staff will whip up for you. Alongside the swathes of tactile fabrics, the store also impeccably displays their own wallpaper designs, upholstered furniture and Persian carpets, making it a haven for interior design lovers. Plus, with plush sofas sat in front of fireplaces and a beautiful private garden accessible via the sitting room, you’d be hard pushed to find a more pleasurable retail experience.

Fortnum & Mason, London


One of London’s most iconic and oldest emporiums (and not to mention grocer to the Queen), Fortnum & Mason has been a foodie favourite since it was established over 300 years ago, when it was famous for offering up exotic delicacies from around the world. The quintessentially English store (it stocks over 200 varieties of tea if you were in any doubt about its British heritage) sells everything from cheeses and preserves to macaroons and fudge in its vast food hall, which spans two floors connected by a grand spiral staircase. Gourmet gift hampers are Fortnum & Mason’s forte with signature hampers including the ‘Mayfair’ and ‘West Country’ although bespoke versions can also be stashed with an array of sweet or savoury treats like champagne truffles and beluga caviar. The store also houses five restaurants across its seven floors including the 1707 Wine Bar (named after the store’s foundation year), designed by David Collins, where you can order any bottle of wine from the extensive collection in the adjacent wine department for just a £10 corkage fee. Alternatively, head to The Parlour on the first floor for a naughty Knickerbocker Glory.

Alfred Dunhill, London


Alfred Dunhill’s flagship store (or ‘home’ as the brand likes to call it) is a former Georgian mansion in the heart of swanky Mayfair, which was previously the residence of the Duke of Westminster. The British luxury label has been dressing the most discerning gentlemen with their exquisitely crafted goods for over 100 years and everything from leather brogues to silk pocket squares are available over three spacious floors, alongside a bespoke tailoring room for custom-made garments. Not just an impeccable shopping experience however, the grade II listed building also doubles up as an exclusive members club with other on-site offerings including a marble-clad spa and an intimate, traditional barbers where men can treat themselves to a classic wet shave. The Cellar Bar meanwhile serves up a perfectly spicy Bloody Mary as well as providing the food for the charming courtyard restaurant. Plus, for film buffs bored of the generic multiplex experience, there’s a luxurious subterranean private cinema room, equipped with the finest visual and audio equipment from Meridian, which is available for hire.

Bijan, Beverly Hills


Unashamedly billed as “the world’s most expensive store”, Bijan is an exclusive appointment-only boutique housed in an extravagant Mediterraneanstyle palazzo on Beverly Hills’ famous Rodeo Drive. Founded by Iranian designer Bijan Pakzad in 1976 (though now run by his business partner Dar Mahboubi since Pakzad’s passing in 2011), Bijan is predominantly a menswear store offering ‘one of one creations’ of the utmost opulence and finest quality (a coat made out of vicuña wool for example, the rarest and most expensive material in the world, for an eye-watering USD 15,000). The store counts the most powerful men of politics and fashion as clients, including Presidents Ronald Reagan, Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin and designers Oscar de la Renta and Tom Ford. Alongside fashion, Bijan is also known for its perfume range (currently consisting of 14 unique scents for both men and women, all contained in elegant Baccarat crystal flaçons) and custom-designed accessories with past requests including bulletproof lined jackets, chinchilla bedspreads and, naturally, bespoke yacht and private jet accessories. The last and most lavish string to Bijan’s bow however is luxury supercars, born out of Pakzad’s personal passion for them, which has culminated in a series of limited edition and highly bespoke Rolls-Royce and Bugatti Veyron cars being designed exclusively for the store.

Lane Crawford, Greater China


Originally a provisions trading post for the navy in 1850, Lane Crawford is today a benchmark for innovation due to its retail concepts and design. Spearheading retail indulgence across the region since the 70s, the retail mogul brings the world’s most luxurious and coolest brands to Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, and soon to Chengdu. With more than 602,000 square feet of prime real estate across five stores in three of the world’s most expensive cities, Lane Crawford doesn’t have branded shopin- shops like many other department stores but instead whisks its Louboutin-clad customers across its meticulously curated displays – much like reading a magazine from cover to cover. Clean-cut, contemporary and sleek, the stores house menswear, women’s wear, beauty, homewear and even a dedicated music bar where patrons can order complimentary coffee while sampling the world’s newest tunes on iPods. Oh, and the next time you’re looking for that perfect gown or clutch, you might want to check in and ask for the collection that won’t be shown on the racks.

Roja Dove, Harrods, London


Offering a welcome respite from the never-ending stream of mass-market fragrances, esteemed master perfumer Roja Dove (regarded as the ‘connoisseur’s connoisseur’) creates scents that are full of emotion, sophistication and ‘grounded in memories of love’. At the Roja Dove Haute Parfumerie, nestled in a hard-tofind enclave of iconic department store Harrods, scent is regarded as powerfully evocative and incredibly personal. Customers seeking true fragrance fulfillment can embark upon a unique journey to ‘unlock their perfume personality’ in the intimate space which is lavishly decorated with mirrors and black lacquer furniture. If you don’t fancy the completely bespoke service however, elaborate crystal decanters containing pre-made Roja Dove fragrances are still created using the finest and rarest raw materials in the world including Jasmine de Grasse and Rose de Mai (both from the South of France and more expensive than a gold bullion). The store also offers Mr Dove’s own personal edit of the most luxurious fragrances from other renowned perfume houses including Guerlain and Clive Christian (the latter famous for producing the world’s most expensive perfume, the Clive Christian No. 1, the bottle of which was decorated with diamonds and cost a whopping £115,000).

Level Shoe District, Dubai Mall, Dubai

levelshoeDubai doesn’t often do things by halves so it’s no surprise that the cosmopolitan city boasts the world’s largest shoe store, within the world’s largest shopping centre. The Level Shoe District is 96,000 square feet dedicated purely to luxury footwear and is home to over 250 brands, of which, over 100 are exclusive to the region and 40 are stand-alone designer boutiques. To avoid overwhelming shoppers with such a vast shoe metropolis, the store is divided into four more digestible sections: Women’s Designer, Women’s Contemporary, Men’s and Trends, with each quarter designed with its own distinct aesthetic and ambience. Among Women’s Designer – a chic boudoir-esque space with gilt birdcages and a powder pink colour scheme – you’d be hard pushed to find an international designer brand missing with everything from Valentino and Louis Vuitton to Miu Miu and Alexander Wang elegantly displayed. Women’s Contemporary meanwhile features the more cutting edge, up-and-coming luxury designers like British exports Nicholas Kirkwood and Sophia Webster. Men have everything from Berluti to Oliver Sweeney at their fingertips as well as concept store The Cobbler, which is designed like a gentleman’s club and offers traditional shoe repair and a bespoke service workshop. On top of this, visitors who are exhausted after a hard day’s retail therapy can indulge in a treatment at the Sole Lounge by Margaret Dabbs (the renowned celebrity podiatrist’s only foot spa outside the UK) or treat themselves to high tea at the region’s first Vogue Café, which is decorated with iconic photography from the fashion magazine’s archives.

Hajenius, Amsterdam


Housed in a historic Art Deco building on Amsterdam’s Rokin boulevard since 1915 (though the company dates back to as early as 1826), the renowned House of Hajenius is widely regarded as one of Europe’s leading cigar houses. With the interior remaining virtually unchanged since Hajenius’ inception, cigar aficionados are greeted with a remarkable backdrop of fine Italian marble, oak panelling and colossal chandeliers that date back to a time when Amsterdam was still lit by gas, before so much as a whiff of a tobacco. Venture further in and the finest selection of cigars are available, from Hajenius’ own brand to an entire room dedicated to Havanas as well as cigars from Sumatra and Brazil, plus smoking accessories ranging from lighters and cigarette holders to handmade clay and ceramic pipes. In addition to the retail aspect, the grand building also houses an exceptional walk in humidor that features a richly decorated vaulted ceiling – the doors are activated by a key fob held by staff members who screen entrants – and regular cigar and whisky tasting evenings are held at the venue.