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Nişantaşı niceties in Istanbul

A day in the life of a luxury shopper on the streets of Istanbul’s retail paradise

by

Turkey Editor

When you walk down the main street of Nişantaşı among its mix of Art Nouveau and modern buildings, designer brand boutiques and chic cafes, it’s impossible to imagine that this used to be an archery range for Ottoman soldiers and sultans right up to just 150 years ago. Nişantaşı means ‘marking stone’ in Turkish, and there are still two smallish obelisks that give the neighbourhood its name. Today however they mark one of the most stylish shopping streets in Europe.

 MG 0704The Panerai boutique in Nişantaşı

Nişantaşı has always been the shopping destination for Istanbulites, with its small boutiques packed with dresses and handbags imported from Europe. But the area is increasingly becoming a designer’s mecca, with more and more brands moving in over the last 15 years. Elegant patisseries, cafes and restaurants have also appeared around the district, and exciting young local designers have followed suit with their own small shops. Now it’s a vibrant area of the city, all year round and at all times of day.

If you’re staying in Nişantaşı or arrive here early in the morning, restaurateur Elif Yalın’s sophisticated Delicatessen restaurant and Bread & Butter on Mim Kemal Öke Street are the best options for breakfast. Kruvasan (the Turkish word for croissant) is the latest addition to the staggering wave of gourmet coffee shops opening up in the area, and they make – not surprisingly – delicious croissant sandwiches.

Related: Nişantaşı, Istanbul: A guideNişantaşı, Istanbul: A guide

5c4426ea429e1364afd168ea1a9dec83Street view in Nişantaşı

Nişantaşı is basically made up of two avenues, Abdi Ipekci and Tesvikiye Streets with small streets in between. In the space of three or four blocks, there’s a strong concentration of high-end fashion brands from Chanel to Louis Vuitton, Burberry to Christian Louboutin, Zegna to Roberto Cavalli, Prada to Armani. With the opening of the St. Regis Istanbul last year, Abdi Ipekci Street gained even more glitter. Behind the Robert Indiana LOVE sculpture lies the ritzy St. Regis Brasserie, the French-style bistro frequented by a healthy mix of fashionable locals and visitors to the city. Barbara Bui, Versace, Alexander McQueen, Lanvin, Zegna and Tom Ford all have stores in the same building that houses the hotel.

Across from St. Regis Hotel stands the local upmarket department store, Brandroom, whose highlights include mono-boutiques for Diane von Furstenberg, Juicy Couture, Michael Kors, Salvatore Ferragamo and Elie Tahari. You can even find the only Karl Lagerfeld store in Istanbul behind the building, in the store’s courtyard.

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IMG 2971Jewellery by Batya Kebudi

The St. Regis Istanbul’un karşısında yer alan Brandroom, içinde Diane von Furstenberg, Juicy Couture, Michael Kors, Salvatore Ferragamo ve Elie Tahari butiklerini barındırıyor. Hatta binanın arka tarafında yer alan avluda Karl Lagerfeld’in İstanbul’daki tek mağazasını bulabilirsiniz.

Another gem in Nişantaşı is Altın Street, the small crossing between Mim Kemal Öke and Abdi İpekçi Streets, a walk of fame for watch brands. Vacheron Constantin, Panerai, Ulysse Nardin, IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Patek Philippe stores are lined up for your browsing and shopping pleasure, no further than 100 metres apart.

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markiz-zigzag-yuzukJewellery by Batya Kebudi

Abdi Ipekci Street glitters with many eye-catching store fronts. Rolex has an immaculate store specially designed for their VIP customers. Across from Rolex is the Turkish fashion maison Vakko and its younger V2K store, along with the brand-new Armani boutique and Escada. On Teşvikiye Street, MaxMara has the best corner store in a beautiful Art Nouveau building dating back to the 19th century.

The 5-floor luxury department store Beymen’s Brasserie is the venue in which to see and be seen, and if this is your first time in Istanbul, we recommend you pay a visit to try their delicious food. Locals lunch at Kantin, where you can find homemade gourmet meals served until 6pm, though their food store is open until 8pm if you’d like to sample some local specialities.

dot-burun-yuzukJewellery by Batya Kebudi

If you venture into the smaller streets away from the main avenues, you’ll find many small designer shops with excellent quality products. On Osman F. Seden Street, jewellery designer Batya Kebudi makes beautiful and simple gold earrings, necklaces and bracelets inspired by ancient symbols. On Şakayık Street, you’ll come across Manu Atelier, two sisters who produce stylish leather and suede handbags. If you follow Ihlamur Nişantaşı Street, you’ll also find the outlet store of Zadig et Voltaire with a huge selection from the previous season’s collection.