Shoppers who are short of time will love these one-stop stores with all our favourite luxury brands available under one roof
Melissa van Maasdyk
The look: Shopping takes on a fun dimension here (at least until the part where you have to pay) thanks to theatrical interiors care of kooky Dutch design star Marcel Wanders, who has boldly worked a floral theme in graphic black and white wallpaper, carpets, oversized flower-shaped lights and mouldings, with a nod to the Middle East in touches, such as handmade mosaic. Against this backdrop, niche international brands are showcased on quirky mannequins with mirrors for faces and in cleverly zoned areas such as a glass jeans house, featuring covetable brands from Victoria Beckham to Seven. Try them on for size in a dressing room that feels like a cool friend’s sitting room.
The labels: Like the space, the international brands here have attitude. There are bags of style by Anya Hindmarch, shoes by the king Manolo Blahnik, and edgy clothes and accessories by the likes of Dolce & Gabbana, Dries Van Noten, Marni and Comme des Garcons. Guys are well catered for too – local trendsetters need look no further than the hip thobes by Middle East designer brand Toby.
Added extras: There’s a bijou pamper section offering unusual perfumes such as Atelier by natural-perfumer-to-the-stars Mandy Aftel (including Pink Lotus created specially for Madonna) and Hotel Costes body products; a crystal homewares concession by inventive Turkish company Gaia & Gino, and a design books section for a bit of inspiration.
We want: Any pair of highly desirable shoes by Manolo Blahnik for her, and two-tone sneakers by Miharaya Suhiro for him; and we’re joining the queue behind Scarlett Johansson and Sienna Miller for an Anya Hindmarch bag. Moda Mall, Diplomatic Area (17 530 330). Open 10am-10pm daily
Saks Fifth Avenue
The Look: Not unlike your average sassy New York girl, Saks Fifth Avenue is groomed to within an inch of its life – one almost hesitates to enter if one hasn’t got a perfect blow-dry. But do if you want to shop like Carrie Bradshaw in a shop that oozes understated New York chic.
The labels: All of the SATC star’s faves are here and then some, with a strong focus on American brands, such as Shi (cue loose-fitting garments in natural fabrics), Hollywood-glamorous Badgley Mishka, and classic-with-a-twist St John. Downstairs the men’s section offers some of the sharpest suits in town by the likes of Christain Lacroix, Hicky Freeman, Isaia and Les Hommes.
Added extras: The Saks Fifth Avenue Club offers private dressing rooms and a personal shopping service that includes keeping your measurements on record; this came in very handy when one client’s suitcase went missing in transit and they were able to replace every item he’d bought without so much as a store visit.
We want: Perspex cuffs by Funky Bling with cut-out words like ‘amour’ and ‘glam’, a bottle of the store’s signature Bond Saks Fifth Avenue fragrance from their cool cosmetics section; a slim-fitting men’s two-button Christain Lacroix suit with jewel-coloured lining and a colourful dress by Isabela Capeto. Bahrain City Centre, Seef (17 172 000). Open Sun-Wed 10am-10pm; Thu-Sat 10am-12 midnight
The look: If Beyonce’s dressing room was turned into a shop this is what it might look like. Decked out with feminine purple and white striped walls with chandeliers dripping from the ceiling and pretty boudoir-like fittng rooms, it’s the perfect spot for a showbiz princess or simply a princess – don’t be surprised if you find yourself shopping alongside a mysterious abaya-clad woman trailed by bodyguards.
The labels: There are 70 different high-end labels here with a strong focus on pretty feminine styles, exquisite detailing and a dash of bling to guarantee you feel stand-out. We love Alice Temperley for evening wear, Nougat for its feminine daywear with delicate stitching, Manoush’s henna-inspired prints, and understated Italian Sonia Fortuna.
Added extras: The bags, the bags, we love the bags, all displayed like the covetable – in some cases verging-on-priceless – works of art they are.
We want: Rock & Republic jeans for their fit and cool prints, a shiny, happy Zufi Alexander bag, and, like supers Helena Christensen, Yasmin Le Bon and Claudia Schiffier, we’re dying to get our hands on a dress from Tocca’s new spring/summer collection. Al A’ali Shopping Complex, Seef (17 582 717). Open 10am-10pm daily