Europe, a melting pot of cultures, offers up some of the best, and widest, range of fashion in the world. But some countries stand out from the crowd and are well worth the visit to see everyday fashion masters in action.
Europe is the home of luxury fashion at its best – regal, effortless and irresistible. Although other countries across the globe have their fair share of chic accolades (Japan, Argentina and the USA, to name a few), today’s focus is on European fashion stars.
Coming in at first place is France; the birthplace and capital of haute couture, in not just Europe but arguably, the entire world. During the 17th Century the French royal court, with the likes of Marie Antoinette and King Louis XIV, were emblematic in instigating high fashion in Europe. Even today France is dominated by luxury fashion houses such as Coco Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent and Christian Dior.
Everyday street style in Paris is a subtler yet equally glamorous and considered process. French women master appearing mysterious yet effortless at the same time; they achieve a thoughtful equilibrium of casual meets chic, an “I woke up like this” glamour. It’s polarising nature between casual and luxe is perhaps what achieves that all iconic “je ne sais quoi”.
Like France, Italy offers up some of the most world-renowned luxury fashion houses such as Gucci, Prada, Versace, Valentino and many, many more! Milan is the biggest luxe fashion hub on the Mediterranean, home to one of the big four fashion weeks in the world, but women from all over Italy could storm runways with their rich interpretations of everyday chic. Italian women often take a “more-is-more” approach and are not afraid to show off their sun-glazed bodies in all manners of fashion innovation.
Italian fashionistas also shamelessly spend large on designer clothing, viewing their glamour conquests as scrupulous investments that will last a lifetime, not frivolous spending. With a stunning backdrop of the Colosseum or the Grand Canal, who wouldn’t want jaw-dropping outfits to match the spectacular scenery in their Instagram posts?
The United Kingdom
British fashion is an eclectic mix – a range as wide as James Bond’s timeless sophistication to The Rolling Stones rock and roll clothing style. London fashion week, one of the largest in the world, is a regular circuit for world class designers such as Burberry and Vivienne Westwood. You can expect to see just as big-name models such Cara Delevingne, Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell gracing the runway.
Brits are the masters of tweed jackets, faux fur coats, Doc Martens and urban sportswear. Regardless of your personal tastes, Britain offers a little for everyone. Fashion-conscious Londoners also never let the cool weather deter them from wearing miniskirts and platform shoes. Traditional, “proper” fashion also still reigns large with the elite with the likes of Victoria Beckham (aka Posh Spice) and Kate Middleton (featured below).
Russian women are prized for their natural beauty and the care they put into their physical appearance. In cultural havens like Moscow and St Petersburg, artistic aesthetics are held in the upmost esteem and Russian women reflect this with pride.
In Russia, there is a low proportion of men to women caused by wars and alcoholism. This adds competitiveness to the dating game and puts mounting pressure on the ladies to always appear at their best. Strong use of striking makeup, fine jewellery and fur coats are national mainstays which scream elegance and opulence.
Finding a date in Russia may be a challenge, but finding a glamorous Russian doll is easy as pie. There are even “Geisha” schools where young women learn how to seduce richer men. Ex-wife of Russian rock star and owner of St Petersburg’s most fashionable restaurant, Matilda Shnurova (below) is just one glamour nymph gracing Russia’s city streets.
Spanish fashion has swept the globe with brands such as Zara, Bershka and Pull and Bear consistently giving us affordable high-end fashion options. Each year, Madrid Fashion Week offers up plenty to enjoy in less-affordable luxury and experimental designs. Spanish women exude confidence and street style often includes bright makeup, red stilettos and flounced skirts or dresses with ruffles. Despite the exotic heat, Spanish women tend to reject shorts and sand shoes as underdressed and reserved only for tourists.
On the other hand, bohemian fashion is also much loved with some Spaniards opting for more casual chic with lots of patterns – an affirmative nod to Moorish mosaics and culture. Spanish fashion designer and Instagram trend-setter, Gala Gonzalez (pictured below) masters both boho and luxe fashion designs.
This ultra-progressive Nordic nation is surprisingly minimalist when it comes to design – think IKEA and H&M. Thoughtful minimalism and modern design is Sweden’s greatest asset when it comes to fashion. Swedes like to keep things simple but sophisticated. Taking inspiration from the long winters, a monochromatic palette is particularly prominent. Converse shoes for summer and Chelsea boots in winter are the national footwear choices. Leather jackets, big scarves and plenty of denim are also clothing staples, both practical and easy on the eye.
To dress like a Stockholm native, always remember the basics but keep up with the trends too and you will blend right in. Denmark is also a close second to Sweden and opts for similarly minimalist but slightly brighter fashion offerings.
Which glam Euro destination do you draw the most inspiration from? Let us know in the comments.