The Guardian, December 14, 2011
Kiki de Montparnasse, New York
"When an erotic boutique is named after Man Ray's muse, you know it's going to be classy," says Juliet Kinsman of Mr & Mrs Smith. "There's not a whiff of Ann Summers tackiness – this sexy salon is in fact perfumed with Kiki's own seductive scents." Decked out with moody lighting, cabinets of beautiful luxury lingerie and "some 'instruments of pleasure' that might make your eyes water – with both their intentions and their price tags", this is the go-to place for everything from a "deluxe intimacy kit" ($275) to "fabulously elegant" cashmere loungewear (boyfriend sweaters $575) and French lace chiffon caftans ($595).
• 79 Greene Street, kikidm.com
C O Bigelow, New York
Open since 1838, America's oldest apothecary's shop is still helping to stock the world's most discerning bathroom cabinets. A favourite with Sasha Wilkins, creator of fashion blog libertylondongirl.com, it sells "hard-to-find beauty products from around the world as well as everyday requirements like toothpaste and plasters. Look out for the beautiful Victorian packaging on their very good own-brand products, too." These include lavender and peppermint shampoo ($9), rose soap ($9.50) and quince hand lotion ($15).
• 414 Sixth Avenue, bigelowchemists.com
The Norm 69 lamp (designed by Simon Karkov) became a Scandinavian design classic almost as soon as it was first switched on. Normann's founders, Jan Andersen and Poul Madsen, knew what they were doing when they moved into an old cinema in Copenhagen's Østerbro district in 2005. Now their flagship store is a must-visit on any design junkie's tour of the Danish capital. What is less well known is how well it caters for children. "In the children's fashion and design field, the Scandinavian countries are pioneers," says Anne Duramois of luvaville.com. "Copenhagen is full of really cool children's shops, but Normann carries the best local brands in children's furniture, design, fashion and toys." This is the place, she adds, to pick up a LuckyBoySunday candy string pram decoration (around £26) or a bObles mini elephant (around £17).
• Østerbrogade 70, normann-copenhagen.com
Kinari Bazaar, Delhi
Pamela Timms, food writer and blogger (eatanddust.com), recommends this Old Delhi bazaar for "everything that glitters: saris, semi-precious stones, ribbons, beads, fancy boxes and bags – and some wonderful street snacking on the way". Known for its zari and zardozi textiles (with gold and silver threads running through them), the bazaar is an understandably popular shopping destination for Indian brides, but even the most resolute singletons are unlikely to come away empty-handed.
• Take the metro to Chawri Bazaar station, then get a rickshaw to Kinari Bazaar, chandnichowk.info/KinariBazar.aspx
Unfathomably, this famous French brand has managed to stay under the radar for many Brits. Less surprisingly its "wonderful, colourful clothes, furniture, accessories and design items for children" have made it a favourite with Anne Duramois, co-founder of luvaville.com, a city guides website for parents: "It has several branches around Paris, but the big concept store near the Marais area is something very special. It even includes a funky children's hairdressers." Not to mention some of the coolest nappy changing tables you'll come across (€135).
• 5 Boulevard des Filles du Calvaire, bonton.fr
Criminal Records, Atlanta
To understand how much Atlanta loves its iconic record store, you just need to look at how the city responded when owner Eric Levin announced that the store would have to close if it couldn't pay off $150,000 in debts, says Josh Jackson of pastemagazine.com. "Acts like The Drive-By Truckers, Kelly Hogan and Magnapop played benefit shows and fans donated enough money to keep the store afloat." It's easy to see why, he adds: "In addition to an enormous and eclectic selection of new and used music, the store carries the coolest U.S. and imported magazines, comics and toys."
• 1154-A Euclid Avenue, criminalatl.com
ranKing ranQueen, Tokyo
For gadget junkies with money to burn, shopping means one thing, Japan, according to Kat Hannaford, editor of gizmodo.co.uk. The Bic Camera chain wins on size, with "39 stores the size of our largest Tesco, like warehouses of all the latest cutting-edge tech and gadgetry". But ranKing ranQueen is a better bet for the truly quirky. "RanKing RanQueen is a litmus test for all that's popular among younger Japanese," Kat says. "Store shelves are updated weekly with the country's best-selling products, which naturally include a lot of gadgets."
• Shibuya-ku, 2nd floor, Shibuya Station, ranking-ranqueen.net
Gerry's Wines and Spirits, London
This Soho stalwart "promises that it sells almost any drink, and it does", says Lulu Grimes of the BBC's Good Food and Olive magazines . "It is the first place we check when hunting down something we need for a cocktail recipe." And no wonder. Whether you're in search of a bottle of Boca Loca Cachaça (£19.95) to get the party started with a round of caipirinhas, or you want to rock out, Jay-Z style, on some Ace of Spades Brut Armand de Brignac champagne (£240) in its opaque gold bottle, you'll find it here.
• 74 Old Compton Street, gerrys.uk.com
A bike shop, but not as you know it, this sleek industrial space displays its two-wheeled wares with the reverence normally reserved for Turner prize winners – carefully back-lit in spare, stacked, white spaces. Described by cycling writer Rob Penn as "an architect-designed, cathedral-like shrine to the tradition, lore and beauty of road-racing bicycles", it covers most of the top names in bikes, including Brompton, Cervélo and Orbea. There's also a good range of cycling gear, from Mavic Zxellium road shoes (€275) to Rapha hooded tops (€150), and they'll whip you up a latte if you need sustenance before spending.
• Carrer Alcalde Ferrer i Monés 57-59, pave.cc
The Essential Ingredient, Sydney
This gastronomic emporium is where Lulu Grimes of BBC Good Food spent "scads of money" when she lived in Sydney. "It stocks fantastic produce, world-class cookware and a great range of cookbooks that are not the usual suspects," she says. These include "covetable" copper pans (16cm saucepan from around £200) and Australian Cobram Estate olive oil (around £25 for 500ml). Since the store's move from Camperdown to Rozelle, a cookery school and an espresso bar have also been added.
• 731-735 Darling Street, Rozelle, sydneyessential.com.au
Saturdays Surf NYC, New York
It may appear to be a long way from the classic North American surf breaks but don't be fooled, says Jim Moore, creative director of GQ magazine. "This SoHo surf shack was conceived by three not-so-laid-back guys on a mission: to create a space for those living, working and surfing around NYC." The shelves are dominated by striped surf trunks (from $65) and small-collar shirts (from $108) but the shop also sells "the boys' favourite wetsuits and surfboards". If you really want to splash out, current stock includes a table made from reclaimed wood from the demolished Coney Island boardwalk – yours for a cool $14,000.
• 31 Crosby Street, saturdaysnyc.com
Tyler Brûlé, editor-in-chief of Monocle magazine, describes Townhouse as "a collection of the best, brightest and most interesting international objects, carefully assembled in a simple and smartly appointed space". Owners Mia Zeltner and Sebastiaan Vadasz have built a workspace at the back of the shop to field personal stock suggestions from customers. The result, he says, "is part retail space, part creative platform". Choose from brightly striped watchstraps (£39), stallion-shaped porcelain bottle-stoppers (£75) and cotton boxers (£36).
• Weite Gasse 4, ilovetownhouse.com
Martin Brudnizki, interior designer for HIX London and St Pancras Grand, never makes a trip to Stockholm without stopping at Svenskt Tenn, which is renowned for showcasing contemporary Swedish design. "I visit for the bright colours, bold prints and streamlined forms," he says. Malmstenbutiken is another Stockholm favourite, and less well-known among Brits. "Carl Malmsten was a Swedish designer whose focus was on home-grown handicrafts. The shop incorporates some of his greatest items. Classic buys include simple wooden stools (£205) and patterned coffee cups (£48 each).
• Strandvägen 5b, malmsten.se
Record City and Thirsty Moon, San Diego
"I have it on good authority that two of the best vinyl stores still in business are within 100ft of each other in the Hillcrest area of San Diego," says Krissi Murison, editor of NME. Record City is good for "used and rare glam, punk, girl groups, indie and reggae", and has a popular $1 bargain bin, while Thirsty Moon is the place to go for "hard-to-find reissues and bizarre experimental imports".
• Record City, 3757 6th Avenue, recordcityonline.com. Thirsty Moon, 525A Evans Place, thirstymoonrecords.com
Late Night Chameleon Cafe, London
The Late Night Chameleon Cafe is a by-appointment-only concept store that is part designer fashion, books and music emporium and part arts and event space, says Mr & Mrs Smith's Juliet Kinsman. "Dalston fashionistas will steer you here for labels such as JW Anderson and New Power Studio, or to name-drop brands like SASQUATCHfabrix, and style tourists may want to swing by to visit LNCC's latest pop-up store within a store, be it vinyl- or vintage-focused." Don't panic if you're not the type to invest in some Ayame men's leopard leggings (£77); more conventional items include natural twine-wrapped lavender soaps (£12) and "super cool" incense (£9) by Japanese brand Kappa.
• 18 Shacklewell Lane, ln-cc.com
Africa Nova, Cape Town
Stylish, ethically sourced souvenirs that won't make your home look like a fresh-from-a-gap-year student pad can be harder to hunt down than a black rhino when you're holidaying in South Africa. But help is at hand from Africa Nova in Cape Town, says Sandra Fairfax, cazenove+loyd's local shopping expert. It's "a treasure trove of African artefacts from across the continent", she says. A local answer to the Conran Shop (which, incidentally, stocked work by some of the shop's artists when it hosted a celebration of South African design a few years ago), this is the place to find, among other things, felt "rock" cushions by Ronel Jordaan (from £82) or orchid silver earrings by Nic Bladen (£355).
• 72 Waterkant Street, Green Point, africanova.co.za
Fox & Obel, Chicago
"Fox & Obel is what Americans call a food market and we call a food shop," says Lulu Grimes of BBC Good Food. "It is big, fabulous-looking in a utilitarian way, and stocks really good produce. It has knowledgeable staff, too." Now 10 years old, this vast store aims to bring the world's best foods together under one roof, from meat, fish and vegetables to wines and boutique confectionery brands such as Askinosie chocolate (from $9.95 a bar). If you prefer to try before you buy, head to the on-site cafe or bistro.
• 401 E Illinois Street, fox-obel.com