Brand New China, a loft-like shop in Beijing's trendy Sanlitun neighborhood, takes aim at the Made in China stereotype by showcasing the country’s emerging fashion designers. Several other noteworthy boutiques are doing the same, such as Shanghai Trio and the enigmatically named Even Penniless. Beijing also saw the opening of Dover Street East, the six-story outpost of Rei Kawabuko’s cutting-edge emporium.
Jennifer Chen is Travel + Leisure's Asia correspondent. You can follow her on Twitter @xiaochen6.
Are the latest beauty and wellness products worthy of a spot in your teensy carry-on? T+L Associate Editor Kathryn O’Shea-Evans shares her take.
The Product: Aveda Stress-Fix Concentrate, $22.
Pros: The lipstick-sized rollerball dispenses a highly-soothing blend of essential oils (French lavender, lavandin, and clary sage are sustainably derived from the sun-lit fields of northern Provence). Perfect for pre-flight jitters or a jet lag sleep aid.
Cons: Unfortunately, the scent didn’t last on my skin longer than ten minutes (probably because it’s all natural and not filled with chemicals… perhaps that’s actually a pro?).
Kathryn O'Shea-Evans is an associate editor at Travel + Leisure.
For this sharp shoe designer, flying is all about unplugging and head-to-toe comfort.
As the creative director of Via Spiga—not to mention the talent behind a namesake line of women’s shoes and the men’s footwear brand Casbia—Edmundo Castillo has a pretty hectic life. Which is why he loves air travel: “It’s my time to disconnect and not have the phone ringing,” he says.
Castillo gets ample time to himself en route to factory visits in Milan (where he keeps an apartment), business trips in China, and vacations in Hawaii, the Dominican Republic, and his native Puerto Rico. In flight, he watches 30 Rock and Mad Men on his iPad, which he carries in a vintage-corduroy sleeve by Milan-based Pijama(from $38). When he wants to sleep, Castillo relies on his Beats by Dr. Dre headphones (from $200) because “they block all the noise.” As for his on-the-go outfit: “I usually land and go straight to work,” he says, “so it’s important to stay in style, but also feel comfortable.”
Q: I’ve seen a lot of folding travel shoes that seem like they’d be comfortable (especially after an evening in high heels). Which are your favorites? —Cass Mitchell, Santa Monica, Calif.
A: You’re right—there are dozens of collapsible shoes on the market, but some are flimsy. Personally, I love Tieks by Gavrieli(from $165), which have a sturdy rubber sole and a breathable leather innersole. Each pair comes in a pouch—and with a small nylon bag to carry your heels. They’re incredibly versatile, transition easily from day to night, and are available in bright patent-leather colors for extra kick.
As Trip Doctors, we’re always on the hunt for great luggage to support our regular, on-the-job abuse. So when Biaggi’s collapsible suitcases made their way into my home recently, I found myself surprised that a new brand could bring so much innovation to a fairly standardized market. The premise: each bag’s sturdy sides snap into place while in use, and fold flat when you’re ready to store. The result? Ultra-compact storage—that doesn’t require you to play Russian dolls with your whole set to unearth the carry-on. A stylish design, super-sturdy handle, and four-wheel spinner function add to the appeal—and the pretty colors don’t hurt, either.
Nikki Ekstein is an Editorial Assistant at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her at on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.
The fashion-forward Neubau district is a hub of inventive boutiques, buzzy restaurants, and the city’s top museums.
Bisovsky: The appointment-only atelier of Susanne Bisovsky, who trained under Vivienne Westwood, sells dramatic couture and ready-to-wear pieces, inspired by traditional Mitteleuropa costume. 13/6 Seidengasse.
Park: This concept store showcases high-profile labels (Martin Margiela; Raf Simons) plus such up-and-comers as Paris-based Damir Doma. You’ll also find art books, Hans Wegner chairs, and brooches made from safety pins. 20 Mondscheingasse.
Lena Hoschek: At the intersection of rockabilly, punk, and Mad Men lies Hoschek’s boudoir-like boutique. The dirndls, dresses, and flowy blouses—ideal for hourglass figures—hit just the right classic-modern note. 17 Gutenberggasse.
Hirsch & Kamel: This new upscale gastropub serves traditional Viennese comfort food with Persian flourishes. Our pick: veal meatballs with pistachios served over mashed potatoes. 6 Stuckgasse.$$
MuseumsQuartier Wien(pictured): The former Hapsburg stables have been transformed into a cultural space with concerts, theater, and plenty of people-watching. Don’t miss the Leopold Museum, home to iconic works by Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele. 1 Museumsplatz.
The sixth-century Hagia Sophia (a basilica turned mosque turned museum) retains its jaw-dropping 180-foot dome. We asked true travel pros what to do nearby. Want to share your expertise? Join our community on Facebook at facebook.com/travelandleisure and at Twitter @TravlandLeisure.
“The most authentic Ottoman cuisine can be found at Matbah(6 Caferiye Sk.; $$), where you can eat on a terrace and look out to Topkapi Palace.” —Mine Demiroren, via Facebook
“There’s a lot of style in Barcelona,” says Niki Robertson, one half of Antiques and Boutiques, a personal shopping and tour company staffed by two longtime expat English fashion designers. “But it’s behind the scenes.” Here, four of their favorite finds.
Blow by Le Swing: Of the three locations of this high-end and mint-condition vintage emporium, the Carrer de Guillem shop has the best collection of accessories and leather goods.