Geneva is not just about luxury watches and big brand names. There is much more to high end shopping in town than ladies who lunch tottering over the cobbles in Louboutins. Tucked away in the side streets you can find a heavenly host of hip boutiques with edgy and interesting fashion choices, including the pick of the rack of assorted international designers. The most affordable items may be the scented candles, but the styling and service can be exceptional, and many outlets have worldwide fashion exclusives.
Bringing a New York "Nolita" vibe to Geneva, fashion editor Katharina Sand started this store in 2000 as a reference book for contemporary designer labels. Stylists and fashion fans flock here from around Europe for its exclusive mix of established and up-and-coming labels. Top picks include cult fashion insiders Mayle and Isabel Toledo and laid-back New York-style brands such as Alice and Olivia and Elizabeth and James. The staff know how to style you to the max, be it in a one-off Issa dress or a range of Theory basics. Jewellery from Kelly Wearstler, ever evolving lifestyle brands and pop-up events make this store a must-stop on a shopping tour of the Old Town. Keep an eye on the website for regular shows bringing US designers to Geneva and join the hordes of savvy local girls for the legendary sales.
A welcome addition to the designer fashion scene in Geneva, La Muse offers an edgy and eclectic mix of brands passionately sold to you by its owner, Viola. Her creative mix of labels includes established British and international names such as Vivienne Westwood and Hudson, and newly emerging homegrown talent. If you love a heel then head here to try on towering beauties from shoe masters Nicholas Kirkwood and Jerome Rousseau, while less flashy fashions include Joseph basics and flats from Ancient Greek Sandals. The presence of certain innovative jewellery designers and Wayuu bags – a celeb favourite – shows that when there is a buzz around a trend, Viola will be on it.
Housed in an impressive first-floor warehouse space, L’Adresse is reached via a red velvet staircase which feels more seedy nightclub than upscale boutique. Inside, a concrete floor, funky multicoloured chairs and vintage leather sofas make up this half bistro, half boutique concept store. The bistro is a lively spot where hipsters, young mums and the creative types that work in the Eaux-Vives neighborhood hang out. Get stuck into a hearty plat du jour whilst eyeing up the racks of boho designer gear from the likes of Isabel Marant, DVF, APC, Acne, Antik Batik and Notify. There's a decent menswear section stocking APC and Orevar Brown for boys with an edge, a rare find in this town. The real edge though is the laid-back staff who turn a blind eye to kids putting sticky fingers on the cashmere. Check the website for special cocktail evenings on the urban terrace.
It’s all about laid-back chic at this Old Town institution where the key style message is don't try too hard. Here, you can pick up wearable boho clothing, shoes you can actually walk in and bags you can fit things in. Choose from brands including Forte Forte, Goat, Vanessa Bruno and Isabel Marant Etoile, along with great bikinis, Hanky Panky pants and a mean woolly hat collection from Wool and the Gang. The friendly team – most of whom have been here for years – are great at advising and organise events throughout the year including a renowned beach party and knitting fests in the winter. There's a gentle buzz about Noa, while the large changing rooms and flattering mirrors make it a good place to try out some new shapes and styles. There are toys and smiles for mini-me too, plus a cracking kidswear range.
Poetry and art inspire the décor of this uptown multibrand store. The tone is set by the words to the French poem L’Apollinaire printed across swathes of linen, and specially commissioned pieces of Italian designer furniture fixed to the floor. The fashion is just as considered. Catering to the ladies of Geneva society who may move in the same circles, the shop carefully buys only a maximum of two items from each designer to avoid any firey fashion fall-outs. The brand mix, including Drome, Zucca, Tsumori Chisato and Antonia Marras, aims for clients with big budgets and a taste for the avant-garde. Prices start at around CHF300 for knitwear from Italian brand Aviu. The Italian owner, Valentina Caviglia, loves art and organises regular events with an art theme.