Women's Fashion, Part 2

Haute Couture Praha: Hot designers, cool boutiques, and more

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 23.04.2007 10:44:38 (updated on 23.04.2007) Reading time: 4 minutes

Written by Elizabeth A. Haas
for Expats.cz

Any gal who has lingered, wistfully and Andrey Hepburn-like, at the window of one of Pařížská Street´s many swank boutiques knows exactly why this tony thoroughfare has been dubbed Prague´s answer to the Champs Élysées and Fifth Avenue. Big names (Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Louis Vuitton, Prada, and, soon, Burberry), shiny bags and baubles, and swoon-inducing price tags lend it a certain intimidating cache. Though Pařížská is often mentioned in the same breath with other streets globally renowned for luxe stuff, you´ll mostly find accessories (handbags, Cartier watches, shoes, etc.) here. To get a feel for Prague´s real fashion offerings swish over to the boutiques on Dušni and a few other unassuming yet fashion-forward locales in and around Old Town´s bricks and back alleys. Here you´ll find fresh designs from the country´s up-and-coming Blanka Matragi (she´s the Czech Republic´s most accomplished fashion desinger; currently working in Lebanon) and get a good feel for what´s in vogue in the Golden City.

But first we recommend a visit to www.praguefashionweek.com. Like many capital cities worldwide, Prague makes way for the runway set every spring, hosting a week of fashion shows and awarding prizes to top designers. The site links to many of the designers discussed in this article and even allows you to view collections and catalogues. You´ll also find a useful map of Prague boutiques. While you´re there go to the main Fashion Week page to see what´s happening in other cities around the globe. (I noticed that many of the Prague designers fancied buckles, buttons and zippers this spring, while over in New York it´s all long, loose florals.) Prague´s top fashion houses are all represented here (Joseph Taptuch, Atelier Nikkita, and E-Daniely). Many of the designers have boutiques or “galleries” that staff in-house ateliers and personal shoppers and will happily arrange for private fittings and showings. Galerie Módy-Lucerna (Štěpánská 61), located on the first floor of Lucerna Palace sells the designers listed above as well the current collection of designer Helena Fejkova, playfully—if a bit randomly—inspired by India, Brazil, and high style in 1930s Prague. After shopping for your cocktail hour frock, go for coffee at the Cafe Galeria.

Over on Dušní 6 you´ll find the Japanese-flavored couture of Hana Havelková, simple garments with refined details. Visit her neighbor at Dušní 1, Tatiana, for elegant evening looks (glamorous furs, glass beading, velvet ribbons) and romantic bohemian styles in tantalizing fabrics (characterized by embroidery and corsets). Radka Kubková specializes in accessories accented with feathers and fur, and jackets in sleek metallic colors at her studio on Dušní 10. Neighborhood newcomer Kebab Fashion Store (Dušní 13) pedals street urchin chic.

Dlouhá Street also houses a number of distinguished designers including Klára Nademlýnská. Her store on Dlouhá 3 takes her contemporary Havelková´s Japanese influence one step further. She´s carried it over to the interior of her boutique—if not the look of her clothes—which features movable walls in the Japanese style. Nademlýnská designs clothes that are clean and elegant with sexy flourishes and pretty detailing. If big-name designers feel a bit out of reach for your budget, wander over to Backstage (Dlouhá 6) where you can rifle through racks of designer seconds, everything from jeans to deliciously cute handbags. TIP: Though further out of the center, browse the bargains at Black Market (Koněvova 59) in Žižkov for more designer seconds, accessories, club wear, and shades.

On nearby by Týn Street Ivana Follová Art and Fashion Gallery (Ungelt, Týn 1) is a showcase for the lovely silk and satin creations of the famed designer who has outfitted the likes of Václav Havel and a number of other Czech celebs. Follová´s gallery also exhibits the work of local artists (ceramics and paintings) and is a hotspot for special events and exhibitions. Her second store, Ivana Follová, is located on Vodičkova 36. You´ll find theatrical yet feminine styles (think enormous bow ties and crinoline) at Max Fred, the boutique and label name of Czech designer Iška Fišárková, on Týn 5.

And while you may not be in Paris, you can still shop like you are. A stone´s-throw from Týn on Masna 12, you´ll find the all-white creations of French designer Anne Fontaine. Fontaine handcrafts white button-down blouses for women that are loved for their silky feel and decadent cuts. If you believe that the crisp (or in this case cloud-like!) white shirt is a fashion staple, Fontaine shirts, though a splurge, are a must-have.

For fashion basics in Prague – sizing, sales, and where to buy what, please see our previous article here:

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