3 Fashion Designers Share the Hidden City Spots Where They Find Inspiration

Designers Explore European Cities
Photo: Alamy; Getty Images (2); Courtesy (2)

Like any other artistic pursuit, design requires an incredible amount of originality. And not just one time—every season, like clockwork, new collections are revealed, referencing everything from nostalgic mementos to off-the-beaten-path destinations. As you can imagine, certain tastemakers have go-to places to get their creative juices flowing.

Paul Andrew periodically heads to Florence to helm Salvatore Ferragamo, Longchamp artistic director Sophie Delafontaine frequents Tokyo, where the French brand just opened its new flagship, and Coach's Stuart Vevers now calls New York home. Here, each one sounds off on the under-the-radar spots that help shape their work.

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A self-professed art buff, the British shoe designer and new creative director of womenswear at Salvatore Ferragamo gets reinvigorated by the cultural attractions in Florence, a.k.a. the “cradle of the Renaissance,” where the Italian label is based.

1. Galleria del Costume

“Part of the momentous Palazzo Pitti, the Galleria del Costume illustrates Florence’s timeless history with a nod to the present. It’s proof that the city continues to evolve past its medieval masterpieces.”

1R Piazza de’ Pitti; uffizi.it/en

2. Galleria dell'Accademia

“The quintessential Florentine collection. Michelangelo’s David [pictured] is not to overshadow the artist’s bevy of other works on display.”

58–60 Via Ricasoli; galleriaaccademia firenze.beniculturali.it

3. Uffizi Gallery

“Botticelli and Bronzino. One need say nothing more about the Uffizi Gallery, whose halls are magnificently lit by the sun.”

6 Piazzale degli Uffizi; uffizi.it/en

4. Salvatore Ferragamo Museum

“Housed in Ferragamo’s original studio in the basement of Palazzo Spini Feroni, the collection is a treasure trove of the brand founder’s original creations.”

5/R Piazza di Santa Trinita; ferragamo.com/museo

5. The Opera del Duomo Museum

“I’m drawn to architecture, and this museum in the Duomo is such an impactful display of Italian craftsmanship.”

9 Piazza del Duomo; operaduomo firenze.it/en

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Though she was born in France, Longchamp’s artistic director has creative ties to Japan: The brand’s iconic foldable Le Pliage bag was inspired by origami. No surprise, then, that Delafontaine gets inspired by the stores in the bustling capital.

1. Dover Street Market

“The Tokyo branch of Rei Kawakubo’s concept store features six levels of emerging and established designers displayed in unique settings.”

6-9-5 Ginza Komatsu West; ginza.doverstreetmarket.com

2. Ginza Six

“This stunning shopping complex boasts an incredible bookstore and a rooftop bar. Plus, an installation by Yayoi Kusama hangs from the ceiling.”

6 Chome-10-1 Chūō; ginza6.tokyo

3. Longchamp

“Our new store carries everything from luggage to menswear.”

4-30-4 Jingumae Shibuya-ku 13; longchamp.com

4. Shibuya 109

“Located in the heart of Shibuya, this towering mall offers a wide range of trendy Japanese brands.”

2-Chome-29-1 Dogenzaka; shibuya109.jp-shibuya

5. Uniqlo

“Uniqlo’s massive 12-floor emporium in Ginza is the brand’s largest in Japan. It’s like a temple!”

6-9-5 Ginza, Chuo-ku; uniqlo.com

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Coach’s creative director is an Englishman and newly-minted N.Y.C. resident who has long been infatuated with street art. The enthusiasm shows in his clothes and accessories, which are often detailed with cartoon-like elements.

1. Crack Is Wack, by Keith Haring, 1986

“Keith Haring is one of the classic New York artists and a personal hero of mine. I’m drawn to his social commentary.”

Harlem River Park, E. 128th Street and Second Avenue

2.Debbie Harry, by Shepard Fairey, 2017

“Debbie Harry is a real inspiration to my work. I’m obsessed with her style.”

Southwest corner of Bleecker Street and the Bowery

3. Mickey Target, by Dylan Egon, 2014

“I’ve always been a huge Disney fan, which is apparent in my designs. Mickey Mouse is an iconic figure that’s recognized all over the world.”

Northwest corner of Bleecker Street and the Bowery

For more stories like this, pick up the March issue of InStyle, available on newsstands and for digital download now.

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