TALLINN - There are quite a few shops in Tallinn, ranging from department stores and big shopping centers to a variety of boutiques and cute little stores, providing you with numerous brands, styles and prices. We're going to take a virtual trip around Europe by visiting only the most recognized high-fashion brands, placing their Baltic flagship stores on the streets of the Estonian capital.
First we'll make a few stops in Italy with few shops, the first being Emporio Armani. The largest of this brand in the Nordic region, it's located in the very heart of Tallinn's business district, on the corner of RÃ¤vala and Laikmaa streets. Launched in 1975, Emporio Armani is the second best-selling brand in the world 's definitely worth visiting. Armani revolutionized women's fashion by creating sexy (read: very sexy) women's suits. The story of success began when, using the same technique as in the masculine clothes, Armani transformed the women's business jacket into the most comfortable and amazing piece of clothing. The fabrics and cuts used are perfect and the colors are impossible to describe with one word, as this is one of the special features for this brand; the fabrics are woven from 5 to 8 different color strands, thereby creating unbelievable tones. The specific style developed by this designer is unmistakable.
Our next Italian stop is a slightly older fashion house, created in 1951 as a men's clothing business and now one of the oldest brand stores in Tallinn. We are talking about the Max Mara flagship store, located on Harju Street in the Old Town. No one could define better the idea of the brand than its creator, Achille Maramotti, when he was asked by International Herald Tribune to list the reasons for the company's success: "[The] quality of the fabric and offering the consumer a garment at a price in tune with the market, ability to develop new lines and new companies rather than sticking to a rigid framework, the youth of a company where the average age is under 30, production know-how ... mixing technology and traditional craftsmanship, listening to customer feedback and design creativity."
Gianfranco Ferre is another famous Italian brand quite recently opening its store in Tallinn on Roosikrantsi Street. Mr. Ferre was a student of architecture in Milan prior to its fashion house launching in 1974. Probably this explains the speciality of his clothes; it is always of very clear and strict cut, models looking very simple and complicated at the same time, just like a well-planned modern building.
Tallinn's Roosikrantsi Street seems to attract Italians, because in early October another grand brand, Versace, opened its representative store here. Founded by talented and artistic Gianni Versace and continued by his sister Donatella, this brand is known for its bold colors and outstanding prints, which made the head of Medusa one of the most recognizable logos in the world. The shop offers collections of clothes and fabulous accessories for both men and women.
Our next two stops are in Germany, and the first is probably the most famous company for men's suits: Hugo Boss. Quality fabric, a perfect cut and a large price tag 's the signature of a successful man. However, not many know of the company's dark history as the company that designed and manufactured the uniforms for the Nazi government and its army. Now it's owned by the Italian material manufacturer Marzotto S.p.A., which gives the brand a competitive advantage it terms of fabrics quality, which is simply outstanding.
Joop! is a somehow unbelievable brand from which you never know what to expect, except top quality and uniqueness. The exclamation mark incorporated into the name perfectly expresses the emotions one gets from these clothes and accessories. Launched in Berlin, it has been surprising its clientele for many years by holding up the classic style adopted by cosmopolitan cities. This is the first meeting with fashion upon arriving to Tallinn, because one shop is located in the airport; while another is in the very center, on the ground floor of the newly built hotel Nordic Forum.
The last stop of today's trip is going to be France, to the Lacoste store in the Rottermani shopping center. The brand was launched by and named after Rene Lacoste, the legendary French tennis player and the first to win the Davis Cup from the Americans. All his clothes were custom-made and the emblem of an alligator was sewed to every shirt. Where did this emblem come from? Rene bet the captain of the French Davis Cup team an alligator-skin suitcase that he would win. And when he did, Rene got his suitcase and the emblem with a little green alligator that now goes for a pretty penny.