Usually when you think about shopping in Dubai, you think ‘malls.’ There is no doubt that the malls are a remarkable experience in their architecture, their special attractions and the range of top brands present, but the city also offers a range of less familiar stores that add extra depth to the Dubai shopping experience. Here is a small selection of our favourites, some of which are in the major malls, while others are in other locations.
This unique design and accessories store houses creative lifestyle, luxury and modern design products. Located in Dubai at the Galleria Mall, all items are hand-picked and selected from various Middle Eastern and international design shows and exhibitions providing objects which are at once precious and distinctive. Not your regular design store, the main idea behind the store is to allow the customer to travel the world in one space. This couldn’t be better reflected than by the logo of Cities that is rendered in a stamp-like form portraying a bird in flight.
Enter into the surreal world of Valleydez, one of Dubai’s premier multi-brand stores that has reinvented the concept of high-end fashion retail. The store itself is a mix between an endearing and fun ambiance that doesn’t seem much like a boutique at all. Among the designs offered are creations by emerging and international designers, sourced directly from the catwalks of Milan, Paris, New York and London. The store’s otherworldly atmosphere and cutting-edge designs will have you visiting again and again.
This sumptuous boutique is dressed in white and divided into multiple sections featuring the latest wear from international emerging and established designers. One of Dubai’s go-to fashion boutiques, all items are hand-picked by its Founder and Director Salama Alabbar, creating a special blend of international and local style. Shoppers can find the extravagant abayas in the DAS Collection; Charlotte Olympia shoes, and creations by designers such as Prabal Gurung, Jason Wu, James Jeans, J. Mendel, Whitney Eve, Acne, Thakoon, Ports 1961, and Halston. Located on The Dubai Mall’s Fashion Avenue, Symphony also offers a vast selection of ready-to-wear brands, accessories, cosmetics, books and magazines making it much more than a fashion boutique.
4) Comptoir 102
This French concept store is known for its attached restaurant offering delicious vegan cuisine as well as its interesting array of home and fashion objects. Peruse the espadrilles, packaged essential oils, jewellery, woven African baskets, sneakers and candles, among other trinkets that originate from far away. Designers featured include Jerome Dreyfuss, Aga, Tse Tse ceramics, Polder and Ines. Co-founders Emmanuelle Sawko and Alexandra de Montaudouin founded the concept as a way to offer a one-stop shop for healthy food, fashion, art and interior design.
5) West LA Boutique
A favourite among Dubai hipsters, the West LA Boutique boutique is found tucked away in Jumeirah’s Sunset Mall. It offers a range of quirky bohemian pieces that are quite California style in their cool and relaxed demeanour. There are lots of distressed jeans, big T-shirts and fun dresses.
6) Boutique 1
One of the Middle East’s most popular destinations for emerging and contemporary designers, Boutique 1 is set within contemporary surroundings and offers a plethora of around 200 luxury brands. It is owned by Lebanese-born Ziad Matta and also offers an art gallery, a café and specialized book area where shoppers can browse through glossy tomes on art and fashion.
Offering reconstructed and designer vintage, Bambah is one of Dubai’s best boutiques for vintage shopping. Find here a plethora of accessories, whimsical dresses and design pieces from the 1930s to the 1980s. Vintage designer offerings include hello Chanel handbags. Impressive.
8) O de Rose
O de Rose features designs by local artisans and designers including Sarah’s Bag, Nada Debs and Bokja Design. It is greatly popular among the Arab expats and Emiratis for objects which showcase a range of regional themes and Arabic motifs. This is also a great place to buy trinkets to bring back home for non-Arabic speakers.
This homegrown fashion and lifestyle boutique is the product of Zayan Ghandour love for all things fashionable. Since it launched in 2004, S*UCE has become one of the UAE’s most popular fashion boutiques. The store now has five locations throughout the UAE including at The Dubai Mall and in Jumeirah. It offers a curated selection of popular contemporary brands and diffusion lines mixed in with unique pieces by up-and-coming designers including pieces by Mary Katrantzou, Sacai, Alexander Wang, Ek Thongprasert and Preen.
10) The Odd Piece
Everything in this store is designed by the boutique’s owner: interior designer Arwa Hafiz. In addition to creating her own furniture, Hafiz also reinvents antique and vintage furniture to endow it with a modern feel. Within her inviting boutique, clients will found lots of intriguing objects including chandeliers, mirrors, vases and even chairs that look like they’re from the 1950s. This is a must-stop for those into cutting-edge interior decorating.