A wave of big-name flagships is bringing new levels of luxury to the Hamburg’s sophisticated shopping scene. From cult beauty labels to high-end department stores, catwalk superbrands to creative concept stores, Hamburg offers shopping opportunities to rival any major city in the world
Hamburg has long been associated with luxury. It is one of the wealthiest cities in Europe and the home town of many of Germany’s leading high-end brands – Wempe, Montblanc and Jil Sander to name just a few. Add to this the residents’ reputation for sleek, elegant style and it’s no surprise that the city’s luxury shopping scene is among the best in the world. In addition, leading international brands flock here, choosing this sophisticated city for some of their most impressive flagship boutiques.
Chanel’s creative director Karl Lagerfeld hails from Hamburg, so as you might expect, the Chanel flagship in the city is a beautiful (and large) celebration of the brand. Modelled after the Parisian apartment of founder Coco Chanel, the boutique was designed in collaboration with leading architect Peter Marino. A chic, minimalist colour scheme has been created using luxurious fabrics and textures – marble, dark wood, Chanel tweed ‒ and the effect is calming and elegant. The shop’s interior is a perfect backdrop to the brand’s ready-to-wear and accessories.
Beauty lovers should be sure also to visit the Chanel Beauté boutique, where the maison’s cosmetics, toiletries and fragrances are available, and beauty treatments can also be booked. Opened in July 2016, it was the brand’s first standalone beauty boutique in Germany, showing that in some respects Hamburg has an appeal greater than Berlin.
Chanel is not the only big-name brand to head to Hamburg first in Germany. British label Paul Smith has its one and only German boutique here, set on Hohe Bleichen in an elegant Biedermeier-era townhouse from the mid-19th century. The eponymous designer is known for his idiosyncratic style, and each of his stores is uniquely decorated with references to his home nation as well as the specific location.
The Hamburg boutique, which offers men’s and women’s clothing and accessories as well as a selection of furniture and curiosities, embraces the beauty of its setting and reflects its location through a typical German conservatory with a Fotheringhay pattern tiled floor. The Paul Smith signature style comes through in bright mismatched furniture and upholstery, various original artworks – including photography by Smith himself – and features such as a wall lined with thousands of hand-applied buttons.
Italian superbrand Armani is another label to pull out all the stops for its Hamburg flagship. Over its two floors visitors can discover an impressive range of menswear, womenswear and accessories from the Giorgio Armani and Emporio Armani lines, and they can also take advantage of a made-to-measure service. The sleek, modern boutique is realised in shades of cool grey with black accents and mirrors.
Other slightly smaller brands have also made eager tracks to the city. Cult beauty label Aesop chose Hamburg as the location of one of its earliest German boutiques as well as the site of its first facial treatment room in Europe. As with all its stores, the space is extremely stylish; pared-back aesthetics and natural materials such as oak and stone complement the protected historic building that houses the boutique. The Australian brand’s botanical hair and skincare products – absolute favourites among beauty editors – sit on wooden shelves in front of simply decorated walls.
The arrival of all these international brands has injected new life into an already thriving luxury shopping scene, and has been further bolstered by new and redesigned stores from German brands, too.
Apropos, perhaps the nation’s most famous curator of concept stores, recently opened a second location in the city – a dedicated menswear boutique to complement the existing women’s store. Bringing together the freshest and most exciting designs from leading high-end fashion labels from around the world, each of Apropos’ Hamburg shops presents a highly modern concept of luxury – refined yet fashion-forward, much like the city itself.
Then there’s Alsterhaus, the department store that has been a fixture of Hamburg’s shopping scene for more than a century. It is currently being refreshed and renovated in order to better reflect its contemporary vision and clientele. The first new space to be unveiled was the luxury hall at the front of the shop. Designed in neoclassical style with maritime influences (a nod to the history of both the store and its city), it offers bags, accessories, watches and jewellery from prestigious international labels ‒ Bucherer, Saint Laurent and Balenciaga among them. Last autumn saw the launch of the new beauty department, completing the transformation of the ground floor.
Look out for fragrances from established names including Byredo and Acqua di Parma, as well as niche brands such as Frédéric Malle and Kilian. There’s a wide choice of cosmetics; Charlotte Tilbury, Chanel, La Mer and Mac are just a few of the many brands. A range of services – from brow shaping to blow dries – can also be enjoyed, making this a one-stop shop for discerning beauty lovers.
With international brands keen make their mark in the city, and local labels upping their game in turn, there’s never been a better time to discover Hamburg’s luxury shopping scene.