One might think shopping in warmer climates is all
about amassing a carry-on luggage’s worth of sequin-encrusted caftans,
smock-sleeved blouses and basket-woven totes. Not anymore. A handful of
under-the-radar global boutiques are upping the ante with insider fashion
labels for a well-heeled clientele for whom serious
retail never sleeps—regardless the time zone.
Mileage points notwithstanding, for some travelers the
most exciting part about hopping the pond is the shopping. After all, is there
a greater moment than eliciting a compliment on a blouse you found while
trekking through some faraway land? (“Oh, this? It’s from a hole-in-the-wall
shop in Tel Aviv.”) But ever since runway shows started broadcasting endlessly
on media outlets, remote resort shops have begun to catch up with the fashion
capitals of the world.
“Our clients are looking for special products not
present in massive markets,” says Mario Gierotto of Balinese high-concept shop
SKS. He stocks his store with international brands fit for a stroll down
Manhattan’s Greene Street. “It’s my mission to allow them to shop without going
overseas.” Indeed, worldly purveyors of style have started stocking their shops
with current season merchandise appropriate for Bergdorf Goodman’s second
floor—a far cry from the not-so-old days of navigating ubiquitous Gothic
quarters fraught with logo T-shirt and sand-in-a-bottle shops.
Even resort retailers stateside have jumped on the
bandwagon, deliberately shunning bikinis and board shorts for season-defying
merchandise that flouts typical vacation dress codes. “A lot of the people have
second vacation homes in the Hamptons and want something edgier than your
average shop on Main Street,” says Jesse Warren, who keeps his Southampton
boutique Tenet stocked with a wide range of cult designers for chic-seeking
weekenders. Tiny boutique Gypsy in Nantucket trades in über-preppy Lacoste for
ultra-luxe Lanvin. Add a dose of decadent parties during high season and you’ve
got style destinations worth converting currency for.
As the holiday season approaches, a spate of
hyper-curated boutiques beckons the most stylish explorer. From a high-fashion
Caribbean emporium in to a bling Mecca in the Alps, sartorial wayfarers are
never too far from the most fashionable finds.