The big four fashion weeks are upon us, with venues across global capitals transformed into avant-garde stage sets and catwalks thrumming to the stomp of models in the latest high-end designs.
If you didn’t make it onto the front row this year, though, there are other ways to show you’re bang on trend. The fashion-forward are property-hunting in the cool urban enclaves in London, Paris, Milan and New York where the tastemakers kick-started their careers.
Homes in these hip ’hoods have seen exponential price growth – and have the added bonus of serious retail therapy on the doorstep. Here’s how to ride on the ever-so-chic coat tails of the world’s up-and-coming fashion types.
Held across physical and digital platforms, London Fashion Week is a celebration of home-grown talent. One of 2023’s highlights is Erdem, who, though he has a flagship store in Mayfair, created his first collection in a studio in Hackney. Like his fellow design superstars Giles Deacon and the late Alexander McQueen, Erdem has always cited the ever-evolving east London landscape as inspiration – a launch pad for starry careers back when renting a warehouse was cheap.
Today, east London’s epitome of cool is Shoreditch, whose journey from down-at-heel ’hood to hipster haunt in the 1990s, and rapid gentrification in the Noughties, is an urban success story. The opening of the private members’ club Shoreditch House in 2007, then a Gucci pop-up store in 2021, sealed its fate as a high-end fashion destination.
Penthouse apartments with private terraces in and around Redchurch Street (where independent boutiques include Folk Clothing and Reformation) are in high demand, says Nick Verdi, who heads up sales for Savills in Shoreditch. “Expect price tags of between £2m and £3m.” The latest Savills forecast predicts that property prices in the area will rise by 6.1% over the next five years.
Canal Saint-Martin, Paris
The 10th arrondissement is no slouch when it comes to chic quartiers, but Canal Saint-Martin, a three-mile waterway linking Canal de l’Ourcq to the Seine, has a bobo-bourgeois vibe all of its own. During Paris fashion week, you can see photo-ready models draping themselves over its iron footbridges.
“Canal Saint-Martin has an indefinable charm that comes from an explosion of contrasts between an authentic Parisian side and a continual search for new sensations,” says Hugues de La Morandière, director of Varenne, Savills associate in Paris. Exciting international cuisine is matched with a progressive fashion scene – agnès b. and Jean-Charles de Castelbajac have studios here.
This is the most sought-after enclave in the 10th, with an average price per square metre of €10,343 (£9,102). Hot spots include the Quai de Valmy and Rue Beaurepaire.
Leave industry titans such as Armani and Gucci to the glitzy Quadrilatero d’Oro and head south to quirky Navigli, where the canals are lined with historic pastel-coloured houses and the city’s brightest young things go in search of under-the-radar fashion.
“Navigli reflects the ancient soul of Milan, when the city was the capital of the Western Roman Empire,” says Simona Mauro, marketing director at Beliving, Savills associate in Italy. “Today it is extremely vibrant – you can spend hours wandering the towpaths, finding cute boutiques, artisans’ markets and flower-filled courtyards lined with artists’ studios. It’s also the beating heart of the city’s nightlife.”
To dress like a Milanese, head for Corso Genova and the iconic Biffi, or Anna Ravazzoli, both of which have been pushing fashion frontiers for decades. Loft-style apartments and the classic galleried case di ringhiera are popular choices for Italian buyers. Beliving recently marketed a two-storey, 10-room loft home for €1.98m (£1.74m).
Lower East Side, New York
Style soothsayers are keeping an eye on Bushwick and Bed-Stuy in Brooklyn, where edgy young designers are setting up shop. But when it comes to ruling fashion enclaves, the Lower East Side in Manhattan still prevails.
“Orchard Street has always been central to NYC’s fashion and garment industry,” says Kane Manera, a real-estate agent with Corcoran. “Running from the new and beautiful Nine Orchard hotel in the south to the 196 Orchard condo development, the location retains its historic character – but decades-old boutiques are now complemented by fashion pop-ups.” Go-to fashion stores include Kallmeyer, Laams, Assembly and the appointment-only 375 Showroom.
Number-crunching by Corcoran shows 8.1% annualised growth in prices per square foot over the past decade. The best-performing properties are along Chrystie Street, where Ian Schrager’s 215 development, designed by Herzog & de Meuron, reigns: a 2,220 sq ft apartment with three bedrooms and gasp-inducing views will cost from about $7m (£5.65m). Loft-style apartments and 24-hour security on the door also top house-hunters’ lists in NYC.
Pictures from top: on the catwalk at Saint Laurent, in front of the Eiffel Tower (Alamy); Shoreditch in London (unsplash); the Canal Saint-Martin in Paris (Alamy); Navigli in Milan (unsplash); New York’s Lower East Side (Getty); browsing for inspiration (unsplash)