The fashion scene in Lisbon is booming, and Portuguese designers are drawing inspiration from the past to offer fresh new visions of how we should dress. Fashion designer Alexandra Jolie Su shares her tips on where to find the best fashion boutiques in the city.
Move over Paris and London, because Portugal’s capital is fast becoming a top European fashion destination. To find out more, Culture Trip spoke to Alexandra Jolie Su, a fashion designer and industry consultant based in Lisbon. She’s the founder of Jolie Su, her personal brand of handmade hats, and FashionDeli, a platform that connects fashion enthusiasts with emerging and established designers in Portugal.
“The fashion scene here is booming,” says Jolie Su. “Local Portuguese designers draw inspiration from the past, proudly embracing traditional craftsmanship, but they also look to the future with such creativity and optimism.”
Join Jolie Su on a shopping spree through some of her favourite fashion boutiques around Lisbon.
Founded in 1925, the Luvaria Ulisses is one of Lisbon’s most beloved and historical shops. It’s also the last remaining shop of its kind, dedicated entirely to the sale of premium leather gloves. “The gloves here are designed in small quantities and available only at this little store in Chiado,” explains Jolie Su. And, from its Neoclassic façade to its Art Deco interior (which comfortably fits just two or three customers) and impeccable customer service, it’s clear this is still a very special shop. “Even if you don’t plan to buy gloves, just go to try them on,” she says. “The experience is just magical.”
“The leather industry in Portugal is enormous,” says Jolie Su. “So, if you’re looking for high quality leather shoes, you’re in the right place!” To find your perfect pair, head over to The Feeting Room, an ultra-modern concept store in Chiado. You’ll find top Portuguese shoe brands such as JAK, Freakloset and Officina Lisboa here, as well as a great selection of clothes and accessories (don’t miss brands such as António or Manjerica if you’re after a new leather handbag). “My favourite is Susana Bettencourt,” Jolie Su reveals, “who is not only an extremely talented knitwear designer, but also an inspiring, kind and vibrant personality.”
Lisbon is one of Europe’s sunniest capital cities, with over 290 days of sunshine each year. So, a fashionable pair of sunglasses is essential for any visitor. “The story of this brand started in Italy, where the founder discovered a source of vintage eyewear frames,” explains Jolie Su. “Today, FORA’s glasses are still inspired by vintage classics, but handmade in a small workshop right here in Portugal.” And, with a new pair of these colourful shades, you’ll look just the part on the sunny streets of Lisbon.
This stylish store in Baixa was founded by the granddaughter of a Lisbon hatmaker, and it’s the perfect destination for those in search of a quality hand-made hat. “The selection here is huge and diverse, the store is pleasant, and attendants are so helpful,” says Jolie Su. You’ll find just about everything from classic Panamas to colourful berets here, in addition to some rather spiffy accessories, such as suspenders, canes and fans. And, look out for Alexandra’s own collection, Jolie Su.
Inspired by the city of Lisbon and its proximity to the ocean, Portuguese designer Ana Costa founded this lifestyle clothing brand in 2014. They’ve since made a name for themselves offering a range of simple, comfortable outfits, designed with a perfect combination of maritime style and urban attitude. And the unusual name? As Jolie Su explains, “+351 is the telephone country code for Portugal, so the name accentuates not only the roots of the brand but also the local production of their garments.”
For those on the hunt for a more unexpected treasure, have a rummage through one of Lisbon’s many vintage clothes shops. “My personal favourite is 88 Retro in Mouraria,” says Jolie Su. “The owner is a collector and she really knows what she sells.” The shop is full of weird and wonderful items, including all kinds of clothing, footwear and some very curious household ornaments. “Everything is top quality, very original,” says Jolie Su. “And usually with an interesting story behind it!”
Finally, having kitted out your wardrobe with the best of Portuguese fashion, you’ll have to make sure you smell good too. Founded over 130 years ago, Claus Porto produces a luxurious range of soaps, fragrances and shaving products with an unmistakably Portuguese style. “This is one of the most iconic brands in the country, with a very strong brand identity and international recognition,” says Jolie Su. In fact, Claus Porto recently opened their first international store in New York – a huge 52-square-metre (550-square-foot) boutique in Nolita – but this is your chance to visit the real deal in Portugal.
This article is an updated version of a story originally created by Nina Santos.