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Step out in three of the world’s most stylish cities

Park Hyatt Seoul-PRINT (20).jpeg

With new fashion weeks to their name, Kiev, Seoul and Lagos are receiving big destination kudos. Stylist gets an insider’s lowdown on each now-fashionable city

Kathleen Kye

Kathleen Kye


Designer Kathleen Kye divides her time between London, New York and Seoul (kyefashion.com; @kkye)

“Seoul is a dynamic, 24-hour city. It never seems to sleep and you can find something to do day or night. Asians consume fashion; Koreans are obsessed with style and pay lots of attention to celebrity trends. Men’s streetwear brands – such as Leata (leata.net), Hide And Ride (hideandride.co.kr), and thisisneverthat (thisisneverthat.com) – are particularly big news right now.”

Do: “I always send people to Gyeongbokgung Palace, the main royal palace of the Josean dynasty, built in 1395. The surrounding area is just as interesting, with art galleries large and small, including the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (mmca.go.kr).”

Shop: “Shopping is taken very seriously in Seoul and the city has a really well curated list of international luxury labels, as well as local brands. Some of my favourites stores are My Boon (myboon.co.kr), Beaker (beakerstore.com), and QueenMama Market (queenmamamarket.com) – a beautiful foliage-filled concept store that has a great coffee shop on the rooftop. I also love browsing Dongdaemun Market, which is full of some seriously affordable fashion and is open 24 hours a day.”

Eat and Drink: “Nightlife in Seoul is like nowhere else: you can go to a spa at midnight, play retro video games, do karaoke all night long or drink champagne in the super high-end bars of Gangnam. I hang out in Itaewon a lot – Seoul’s ‘hipster’ neighbourhood – and drink soju (a potent local spirit). There are lots of clubs and bars there with great local DJs. I love Seoul’s hip-hop scene so you’ll also find me in clubs like Cakeshop (cakeshopseoul.com), Henz Club or Pistil.”

Stay: “The Park Hyatt Seoul (doubles from £210; seoul.park.hyatt.com) is a favourite with the locals – there’s a great atmosphere in all the bars and it’s in a perfect location
for first-time visitors, right in the centre of things.”


Strike gold: UNESCO World Heritage Site Kiev-Pechersk Lavra at sunset


Daria Shapovalova is a fashion blogger and founder of Mercedes-Benz Kiev Fashion Days (dariasdiaries.com; @daria_shapovalova)

Daria Shapovalova

Daria Shapovalova

“Kiev is at a fascinating crossroads in history right now, moving on from many years of invasion and the cultural mark of the Soviet Union. In July, Ukraine celebrated the 25th anniversary of its declaration of independence. Twenty-five is also the age of the average Ukrainian designer – we’re the first generation that is truly free to express itself creatively, and we’re now seeing great designers (including Anna K, Litkovskaya, Omelya and Shushan), stylists, models and photographers gain global recognition.”

Do: “Start at the Mother Motherland monument and the WW2 museum – a stunning example of Soviet architecture – and the surrounding park (Kiev is one of the greenest cities in Europe). I love the exhibitions at the Mystetskyi Arsenal National Cultural-Art Museum Complex (artarsenal.in.ua/uk) and the contemporary PinchukArtCentre (pinchukartcentre.org). I always tell visiting friends to get a bit lost in the streets between St Sophia’s Cathedral and the Golden Gates, where you’ll stumble upon beautiful private courtyard gardens. Also, Kiev is situated on seven hills, so flat shoes are advisable!”

Helen Marlen

If only our shoe wardrobe looked like Helen Marlen Mandarin's

Shop: “Sanahunt Luxury Concept Store (sanahunt.com) is one of the most beautiful boutiques in Europe, while Helen Marlen Mandarin (helen-marlen.com) is more conceptual and stocks younger designers. Atelier 1 sells unique archive pieces from Comme des Garcons and Junya Watanabe.”

Eat and Drink: “For traditional Ukrainian food, go to Kanapa on Andreevskiy Spusk, or Osteria Pantagruel (pantagruel.com) near the Golden Gates. I also love Arbequina for tapas (arbequina.com.ua). For really great cocktails, head to Loggerhead Bar (loggerhead.bar) and Parovoz Speak Easy (parovoz.bar). At nightclub Closer, you can party all weekend long.”

Stay: “11 Mirrors Designn Hotel (designhotels.com) is a favourite boutique hotel of mine, with doubles starting from £150 a night.”


Concept store Alára stocks both big names and local designers

Zara Okpara

Zara Okpara


Zara Okpara is a brand consultant and buyer at luxury retailer Oxosi (@z_l_o)

“What I love most about Lagos is its positive energy. Although we’re faced with challenges surrounding infrastructure and order, the people are natural optimists. As a fast growing metropolis that has cultivated many aesthetics, perspectives, attitudes and cultures over the years, Lagos style is defined by strong British colonial rule mixed with traditional garb from over 250 ethnic groups. Nigerian designers – my favourites are Lisa Folawiyo, Bridget Awosika, Zashadu and Orange Culture – are looking to their roots to define their brand DNA; traditional textile methods and childhood memories from old Yoruba cities mixed with new, cosmopolitan influences. Lagos is eclectic in style and bursting with inspiration.”

Do: “I spend most of my time between the residential area of Ikoyi and the bustling business district of Victoria Island, but the Lekki area is developing a really creative culture. I always send visitors to Nike Art Gallery (nikeart.com) – run by one of Nigeria’s most foremost artists, Nike Davies-Okunday – with its traditional and contemporary arts. And at afrobeat legend Fela Kuti’s New Afrika Shrine venue, his son, Femi Kuti, performs weekly; an energetic experience not to be missed.”

Shop: “Alára (alaralagos.com) is Lagos’ most iconic luxury concept store, stocking everything from Valentino and Self Portrait to local designers in a beautiful museum-like space designed by British-Ghanaian architect David Adjaye. Plus, it has an amazing restaurant, Nok. I also love Temple Muse (templemuse.com) department store, Retrospective for great vintage jewellery and Lekki Market for souvenirs, artefacts and wooden carvings.”



Alára: High concept design is not limited to the interior

Eat and Drink: “My favourite restaurant is Delis on Akin Adesola Street, which has everything from gourmet sandwiches and fresh salads to delicious coffee. A really popular place for drinks is RSVP – I love the poolside bar there. I’m more of a bar type of girl these days, but I used to go clubbing at Sip Lounge, which is great.”

Stay: “My favourite hotel is The George Hotel (doubles from £360 a night; thegeorgelagos.com), a modern hotel with great decor in a quiet area of Ikoyi.”



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