A Fashion Guide to European Cities

OK, so you have the incredible architecture, the food and the culture – but what we love most about Europe is the fashion!

Feature by Mona Lisa Maclean | 17 Jul 2015

From some of the most influential fashion houses to revolutionary, once-in-a-lifetime designers, there is always something special about European fashion (as much as we love fashion everywhere). It's always a little riskier, a little bolder and always with a particular sartorial flair.

Join us on our fashion tour of Europe as we choose the designers who sum up our favourite destinations.

First up, London: some would say the most influential fashion destination in the world. Considering the sheer amount of London based fashion designers, we are a little spoiled for choice, but who really sums up this very complex city? You can’t talk about fashion and London without mentioning the late, great Alexander McQueen, a true trailblazer, a real jewel in the creative crown of London. Controversial and edgy while remaining effortlessly beautiful, his work perfectly reflects the constant dichotomy of the city itself.

But what about the new generation? Nowhere produces the amount of fresh, young fashion talent quite like London does. New designers like Nasir Mazhar bring an urban edge to the fashion world by introducing authentic youth streetwear, and – like London – they keep the fashion world on its toes.

London Fashion Week: SS16 18-22 Sep 2015, AW16 19-23 Feb 2016. londonfashionweek.co.uk

You can find Nasir Mazhar at Selfridges (women's, men's and accessories) and Hervia, Manchester (men's and accessories only). For Alexander McQueen, visit the London flagship store.

When considering the fashion of the Dutch, think expressive: extremely expressive. In no other country will you find more interesting and unique designers. With contemporary designers like Bas Kosters and MaryMe-JimmyPaul leading the way, it’s never just about fashion, but rather about art; colourful, quirky and unlike fashion in any other part of the world.

The city has its own fashion week, the Mercedes-Benz fashion week Amsterdam, but if you want to get a real feel for fashion in Amsterdam, check out RedLight Fashion, an initiative that transforms windows in the infamous red light district into exhibition spaces and studios for clothing, shoes and streetwear designers.

The Mercedes-Benz FashionWeek Amsterdam: 3-13 Jul 2015, 8-18 Jan 2016. fashionweek.nl/en

A list of selected MaryMe-JimmyPaul stockists can be found here, while you can pick up pieces by Bas Kosters at his online shop.

[MaryMe-JimmyPaul. Photo: Semuel Souhuwat]

When you say “Paris” and “fashion” in the same breath, the first thing most people will think is “haute couture,” and rightly so. Paris is the centre of chic and hand-made elegance, and, while there are so many Parisian designers, we felt Jean Paul Gaultier really sums up French fashion. Sure, his classic chic and luxurious designs are something that we all dream to be able to afford one day, but his work is also sexy, sometimes a little edgy, with that tongue-in-cheek sense of humour that is oh-so-French.

While Paris will always be the centre for haute couture there is an urban side to Paris, a melting pot of different cultures and the spirit of youthful rebellion, perfectly expressed by the label Pigalle. Designing clothes that reflect his diverse urban environment, the brand creator Stéphane Ashpool is fast becoming the king of streetwear and an ambassador for the street culture of Paris.

Paris Fashion Week: 30 Sep–7 Oct 2015, 2-9 Mar 2016. parisfashionweeklive.com

Find Jean Paul Gaultier at Harrods, and Pigalle at Selfridges.

Recently it seemed discussing fashion in Milan was verging on a history lesson: sure, it has more big brands than you could shake a stick at but it is really lacking in fresh young design talent, especially compared to, say, London. Milan is truly the land of the massive fashion house, and the big brands are exciting and still extremely relevant, from Moschino to Versace, Dolce & Gabbana to Prada – but what about the contemporary designers giving us a feeling of youth, and the future of fashion?

Fausto Puglisi is definitely making waves in the fashion world with lavish, traditionally Italian baroque prints, embroidery and embellishments, and his innovative skin-exposing cuts are fast making him a celebrity favourite. On the subject of favourites, there is another Italian fashion brand that has become coveted by fashion insiders: MSGM. Irreverent, yet supremely wearable pieces that play with colour, texture and print, this is some of the most exciting fashion making its way out of Milan.

Milan Fashion Week: 23-29 Sep 2015, 24 Feb–1 Mar 2016. milanfashionweeklive.com

Pick up timepieces by brands including Moschino and Versace at The Watch Hut; for Fausto Puglisi, head to Far Fetch

[Isolated Heroes. Photo: David Macaffer]

Honourable mentions:

Designers: Isolated Heroes
Fashion week: Edinburgh International Fashion Festival, 23-26 Jul 2015, edinburghinternationalfashionfestival.com

Designers: Bobby Kolade
Fashion week: Berlin Fashion Week, 18-22 Jan 2016, fashion-week-berlin.com/en

Designers: Ivan Grundahl
Fashion week: 5-7 Aug 2015, copenhagenfashionweek.com