True style mavens flock to Vitkac. Dubbed Poland’s first luxury department store, it’s awash with daring offerings from the biggest names in global fashion. More affordable, just, is Klif, with its healthy spread of off-the-peg designer labels. Finally, the Mysia 3 store caters to a more hipsterish, creative crowd with clothing that reflects this.
To get a true sense of what Warsaw is about then visit Mokotowska. Lined with tall, pre-war tenements, it’s a reminder of the days when the city was hailed as the Paris of the East. Filled with niche boutiques, it’s where the doyens of the Polish fashion world – such as Maciej Zien and Robert Kupisz – have set up HQ, and their doors see a constant in-out procession of local celebs.
One man’s junk is another man’s treasure. Ponder that while you pick through the merchandise at Sunday’s Kolo Antique Market: communist vinyl, antiques in different stages of disintegration, creepy war finds and general tat. Others of note: the Sunday camera market at Stodoła, Warsaw’s weekend computer market, not to mention the ultra-cool yard sales you’ll see advertised on Facebook (look for Mustache Warsaw).
Polish design is enjoying a massive resurgence. For fashion, lifestyle accessories and furniture/homeware then trawl around the independent stores of Powiśle comes highly recommended. Arrive with no plan and just hop from store to store. It’s a district that rewards curious minds. Likewise, take a trip up to Soho Factory to peruse the stores up there: for local art and design put Magazyn Praga at the top of your list.
For something truly alternative then head to Spod Lady on Chmielna, a subterranean store filled with so-called ost-algia – modern gifts and trinkets designed using communist aesthetics. For quirky books about Warsaw, a visit to the diminutive Fundacja Bęc Zmiana is also recommended. Those wanting to read-up on the city’s history, meanwhile, should make a beeline for the dusty bookstore at Dom Spotkań z Historią.