There’s a retail revolution afoot; from cocktail parties and non-boutique boutiques, to modern ‘trunk shows’ and festivals, a new set of retailers and e-tailers are here to challenge the notion that there’s no good shopping in Prague.
The Modern Trunk Show
Trunk shows; they’ve been around for as long as women have cat-walked Fifth Avenue on their way to Bergdorf. Originating as a way for designers to show their product to store personnel and their best customers, a trunk show was always an intimate setting for the well-to-do set, but Czech designers have made this idea more modern and democratic with four stores taking the lead.
Two to three times a month La Gallery Novesta hosts a Fashion Shake, where designers from around the Czech Republic and Slovakia are invited to the store to share their inspiration for their latest collection (think of it like a press conference that is open to the public.) Check out the latest fit and flair dresses from Czech-born, Parisian based designer Katerina Geislerova or jewellery designer Hanus Lamr’s veritable works of art using gold, silver and accents from Czech nature. All of their upcoming events can be found on their frequently updated Facebook page.
Kurator, a small space located off busy Karoliny Světlé, was one of the first stores to bring the trunk show concept to Prague. This newly opened space uses such precision in their merchandising that moving from the rack, to the fitting room, to the register is a little too easy. The concept behind Kurator is simple enough to follow. Owner Martina Mala, part of the design duo behind the Belka label, is the acting docent of the store, which mixes new Czech labels like Petra Ptáčková with more established ones like Zuzana Vesela and Zorya and adds flare with designers from abroad like Anne Willi or Maison Charoussas. The “exhibitions” are hung in the store from anywhere between a month to two months before being changed out with each one being launched with an “opening”.
Czech Labels & Friends has taken over the old Bella Brutta boutique off of Železná, one of the main thoroughfares leading into Old Town Square. The store is built and merchandised with a faster, urban, and more experimental assortment. PBL Prague who showed their Fall/Winter line at this year’s Designblok, blends nicely with a contemporary mix of other up-and-coming designers all of whom you can meet during the presentations of their new collections.
Of course when it comes to trunk shows one doesn’t immediately think of second-hand shopping but Jane Bond Special, of the fascinator fame, has opened a store in Vinohrady that finally does second-hand shopping right by combining the best of vintage and second-hand clothing and mixing it with new trend-driven pieces and accessories. Not only can you see the latest in store, with a personal explanation from the designer herself, but you can also check her Facebook page daily to view the latest in-store inspiration, new arrivals, sales, and events.
Festivals & Fashion Nights
Code:Mode was clearly the catalyst that started it all and thanks to this one festival Prague has been washed over with more than its fair share of shopping brouhaha. Besides the staple favourites like Dyzajn Márket and Holešovice Market, there is Grace’n’Glamour which holds two festivals per year with the next one taking place on November 30. Grace’n’Glamour caters more to the woman who is drawn to A-line dresses, wide-brimmed hats, and button downs with ruffled collars than the street wear attire that seems to be prevalent throughout other Czech design festivals. You will have to wait til this spring (March 27) for the next night shopping with Prague Fashion Night Out which will be teaming up with Harper’s Bazaar for an evening of fashion fun. Can’t wait to get your fashion fix? Check out the 8th annual Harper’s Bazaar charity event, on Thursday, November 21 from 16-18:00 at DSC Projekt Space on Wenceslas Square. The event benefits local charities Enticelle, Dobreho Andela and Kapku Nadeje and features bags, clothes and accessories at sample-sale prices.
The Non-Boutique Boutique
The one idea that has truly taken hold by both old and new retailers is that of the pop-up. The idea really sprung onto the scene in 2010/2011 thanks to the Minty Concept Store which blended Czech labels, Los Angeles jewellers, bloggers, fashion journalists, and international magazines like cult favourite Purple with coolness and panache. Minty has since come and gone replaced by a bevvy of shopping choices which fluctuate between pop-up’s and the non-boutique boutique.
Once a pop-up, Boho has since become a permanent store in Vršovice with events and themes parties occurring weekly and additional pop-ups like a restaurant, bicycle event, as well as dj sets and champagne. Think of it as a massive block party in one of the coolest up-and-coming districts in Prague.
DreamHouse Living Concept Store is a new boutique where fashion, art, design, and home furnishings intersect. Elevating window dressing to a fine art form, hosting book launches and other interesting gatherings, it’ll make you forget that you’re in a boutique and not a fabulous friend’s flat. Shop their inventory of fashion, jewelry, and array of gorgeous accesories at their Christmas market November 29-December 1 which includes a wine tasting and nibbles.
Natalie Steklova’s Shop & Café with her mean espresso, sun-drenched terrace, home-made cakes and Friday morning yoga classes, is one of the first to mix fashion, culture and a boutique. It’s such a cool place that one shouldn’t be surprised to see an ecclectic mix of fashion editors, financial types or musicians browsing or just hanging out.
Bohemic.com, an online clothing store which offers downtown cool and uptown chic in a one-stop retail shop. Expect to find boots from Balenciaga, shirts and leggings from American Apparel, or an envelope clutch by Zac Posen. Big brands aren’t the only thing Bohemic sells, check out scarves by young Czech designer Adam Ptáček who has moved away from minimalism and futurism (a Czech designer’s favourite) to outlandish prints more in line with Versace and Southern Italy.
Molo7 a newly launched e-tailer with big dreams of introducing the mass public to something other than mass produced clothing, focuses on original and progressive fashion labels. While the website is only in Czech, it is pretty user friendly based more on pictures making navigation easy. Zoot.cz even offers designs from Happy Socks, Juicy Couture, Desigual, and Melissa plus an array of other trend brands offers free pick-up (and try on) from Hlavni Nadrazi, plus they always have solid sales for those shoppers looking for a good deal.
Since most of the stores list their events on their Facebook page if you are interested in attending them it’s best to become a fan. You can also check out Prague Fashion Scene which also has an events section that tells you where to show up, drink bubbly, and shop as does the newly launched site Fashion Map (Czech only).
What’s your favorite new place to shop in Prague?