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10 cool concept stores to check out around the world

These hottest retail addresses not only offer a carefully selected array of lifestyle merchandise, but also embody impeccable taste, inspiring one-of-a-kind experiences that will appeal to travellers, foodies and design aficionados alike.

1. Colette, Paris

Colette

An eye-popping selection of edgy merchandise is housed in this three-storey cult boutique, which remains as avant-garde today as when it debuted in 1997. It stocks high-fashion designer wear, indie magazines, rare perfumes and quirky collaborations with designers such as Karl Lagerfeld (Barbie and Ken dolls) and Stance (socks). There’s even a bar in the basement serving over 100 different brands of water from around the world.

2. 10 Corso Como, Milan

10 CORSO COMO

International fashion, art and design illuminati flock to this multifaceted complex, which has been brandishing its sophistication and edginess since the early ’90s. Hidden in a quiet courtyard in the heart of Milan, this design haven is also a luxury-fashion boutique, bookstore, art gallery, courtyard cafe and a three-suite hotel all rolled into one.

3. Clerkenwell, London

Clerkenwell London

Distilling the creative essence of its historic neighbourhood into its sprawling 1,200 sq m space, this next-generation emporium showcases a globetrotting collection of designers and artisans, also mixing an on-site perfumery, bespoke tailoring services and a wine cellar within its warren-like network of interconnected spaces. Its 155 Bar & Kitchen is also a destination in itself for inventive cuisine.

4. Nannie Inez, Austin

Nannie Inez 2

This whimsical shop has a decidedly global focus, featuring everything from colourful French linen napkins and glass tea cups from Japan to Danish lounge chairs. Within this contemporary minimalist enclave, it’s easy to get lost among the beautiful handpicked products and be hard-pressed not to buy a thing.

5. Leclaireur, Paris

Le Claireur

The first concept store to open in Paris, Leclaireur continues to lead the French art, design and fashion universe with its growing empire of sleek boutiques across the French capital. Besides contemporary pieces by up-and-coming designers, check out the different installations melding architecture, design and location at each outpost.

6. The Apartment, New York

apartment by Line NYC

Like its name suggests, this light-filled showroom resembles an ultra-chic loft abode in Soho, stocking rarefied fashion, beauty and interior objects in a refined apartment layout – the walk-in wardrobe, for example, is devoted to new and emerging labels. Book ahead or drop by on The Apartment’s opening days from Tuesdays to Sundays.

7. Project No. 8, New York

Project no 8 2

At this minimalist art-meets-fashion space, artfully arranged sneakers and jewellery sit alongside purple-tinged shades by Mykita, classic watches from Braun and bright frame bags from Maharam. Look closer for gems such as a knitted albino pigeon and dandelion-stuffed paperweight, which will make whimsical yet au courant souvenirs from the Big Apple.

8. Hut 13, Melbourne

Hut 13 Melbourne

Creative proprietress Lucy Mora eschews the minimalist ethos and beige hues typical of contemporary concept stores to adorn her store with candy colours and a cheerful atmosphere. The peach-coloured door gives way to an intriguing gift and homeware boutique chock-full of crafted gems by Australian artisans – think feather-adorned headbands, embroidered aprons and nifty trinkets.

9. Souq, Bali

Souq Bali

The creative trio behind Souq – Peter, his wife Sophie, plus good friend Sigrid – have an innate eye for quality design, filling the expansive warehouse-like space with such coveted items as artisan rattan chairs and intricate earrings crafted by Balinese silversmiths. The cosy cafe tucked away in one corner also bears the owners’ tight editing in menu and quality – the potted salmon bagel with tarragon cream cheese and fennel comes highly recommended.

10. L’Usine, Saigon

lusine

The stomping ground of the city’s hip set, this quirky boutique-cafe is where Vietnam’s creative spirit shines through. Nestled in a storied 19th-century building that was once Hotel de Saigon, the light-filled space is now punctuated with houseware and clothing by homegrown designers. Come for the fashion, but stay for the contemplative exhibitions and a strong brew of Vietnamese coffee in the airy cafe.

Adapted from SilverKris.