Our Secrets to Shopping the World's Top Fashion Cities

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From New York to Paris, it's never too early to start planning your Fashion Week shopping itinerary.

With Paris’s Haute Couture shows in high gear and the men’s Spring 2019 runways recently concluded, we've been thinking about "fashion cities"—those extraordinary destinations through Europe and the U.S. that act as a magnet, regularly attracting the fashion world's most influential players to their glittering streets. 

But what might be some of the best insider shopping spots and services in the "main" fashion cities of New York, London, Milan, and Paris? When it’s all about style, what experiences do these international hubs hold to make the art of buying a bit more unique? 

We track down the best-kept secrets in each locale below.

New York: Stay For A Week—And Rent Some Seriously Chic Runway Items While You're There

As part of The Standard Hotel's "Stowaway" package—which requires a seven-night minimum stay at any of the hotel’s properties, two of which are located in NYC—travelers will have special access to Armarium, the ultra-luxe fashion rental, and styling-on-demand company. Whether you’re in Manhattan for work or fun, this offer is worth looking into (Stowaway bookers also have access to a Tesla car, dependent on availability); Armarium lets you wear multi-thousand dollar items from Brandon Maxwell, Christopher Kane and Jason Wu for a fraction of their price-tags. Plus, their network of stylists is dazzling, including powerhouse Hollywood trendsetters and in-demand New York-based editorial eyes. Try it; the photos will last a lifetime.

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London: A Last-Minute Shopping Spree

Heathrow VIP removes those otherwise impossible to escape flying stresses; this program, available at London’s Heathrow International Airport, provides guests with their own (as in, just for the client and his/her traveling companions) private lounges, expedited customs and immigration processing, car transfers, gourmet meals and plenty more. As part of this package, the VIP team can also book a tour with another of Heathrow’s offerings: the elite personal shipping outfit, which helps browsers navigate the airport’s formidable duty-free offerings. There are 30 personal shoppers at LHR, who speak 20 languages and, when booked in advance, clients can simply tell the team what they’re looking for, and the pre-flight plan is crafted beforehand. Heathrow VIP is pricey, but worth it; you’ll be saving loads on tax-free Dior, Bottega Veneta, Cartier, Louis Vuitton and many more top-tier labels.

Milan: Viva Versace!

Via Della Spiga is one of Milan’s most famous shopping streets. A little-known fact: there’s only one hotel in Milan with direct access. It is the all-time classic, traditional-chic Baglioni Carlton Hotel, which just launched an initiative called the Assoluto Signature Programme. The concept? To link its guests to true icons of Italian culture; and who could outdo a sense of dolce vita more than Versace? Clients who book into the program can get a behind-the-scenes tour of Versace’s atelier (located just around the corner from Via Della Spiga) and have a company specialist meet directly in his or her room to discuss what they might like to buy, or simply know. Not only will you be bringing home something intrinsically, fabulously Italian, but you’ll also get a full understanding of the famous house along with it.

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Paris: Sweater Weather

When thinking of the globe's best cashmere, most people might first consider Scotland. But to overlook a designer in Paris named Lucien Pellat-Finet would be a mistake—the man is low-key world-famous for his cheeky intarsia cashmere sweaters, which feature inlays of everything from skulls to animals to comic book graphics. Pellat-Finet runs an impressive operation, too—he’s an independent brand and has been around for decades, skirting the edge of the mainstream but still steadily building a significant business. Call it Paris eccentric-chic, and swing by Pellat-Finet’s Rue d’Aboukir store to pick up one (or five) of his unique, eye-catching jumpers.