Most of us consider shoes made or styled in Italy as the ultimate in fashion, a picture of good craftsmanship, style and quality. It’s why Italian designers are the most acclaimed footwear designers in the world, and for centuries have perfectly understood the anatomy of the leg and foot so they can make shoes look their best...
So where are some the three more fashionable capitals of Eastern Europe, and what can you expect on your travels through the region?
A great place to start is in the Heart of Europe, beautiful Prague, where the footwear and the women are strikingly beautiful. Stylishly navigating the web of cobbled streets in an Old Town that was meant for walking. Bata shoes, famous worldwide, hail from the Czech Republic, but there are so many fine boutiques near Old Town Square, you'll be spoilt for choice.
Winter is the best time to visit; believe it or not, you'll still enjoy wandering the maze of museums, chapels, galleries, cafes and hole in the wall pubs, especially in a nice pair of black thigh-high boots. The streets come alive in winter, there are street dancers, mimes, and accordion players and on one corner, you might even find a knight in armor break-dancing.
Mirroring Prague's medieval mood is the slightly more cosmopolitan Budapest, two towns on a river that married long ago. When shopping or looking for shoes, you'll only need to head to Vaci utca in the 5th district, quite simply the beating heart of the city.
The ‘Belvaros' (inner city) is one of the smallest of Budapest's districts in area, and while it hums to the bustle of neighborhood markets and restaurants and exists as Hungary's Central Business District - modern glass and steel monuments to business jostle for space next to turn of the 20th century Beaux Arts palaces – shopping is the favourite pastime on Vaci utca, the classical pedestrian shopping street of Budapest. Fashion Street and the prime high street shopping areas are located in the immediate area. Not only designer brands can be found here, but the old Market Hall is located as well. The Danube is a few steps away while other attractions of the city can be visited on foot as well. The area is filled with cafés, restaurants and bars offering you entertainment all year long.
Where to find the fashion forward in the old country? Then you'll need to head to Warsaw. Style in Poland is subjective, the country is so big, and you can find the avant-garde or the most comfy country style fashions both in the same urban area.
A great event takes place every July, when Warsaw Nowy Swiat turns into the most fashionable street in Europe. Throughout the day you'll have opportunities to watch fashion shows of Polish and foreign designers, in the biggest Polish holiday of fashion.
Amazingly, second hand clothing in Poland is big business; thousands protested when the government tried passing a ban on second-hand shops, and as a result there are more than ever. But don't get the wrong idea about Poland and clothes. The style is all about showing individuality, and I dare say most people couldn't care less what you're wearing, unless it's totally unsuited to the weather. Every spring and summer in Poland there's a new "in" colour that sees everyone and their dog clad in it. Cheap and kitsch still rule the day in Poland and most of the oddly dressed people I've met in Poland also happen to be the coolest peoples I've ever met.So if you're planning a trip in the year ahead, the above three cities are a great choice and are all interlinked by a very affordable train system. The money you save can be spent on clothing (and shoes of course) allowing you to stay ahead of the fashion curve, no matter where you call home.
Lucy Bartlett is a proud contributing author. Find more articles here. For more info visit Italian Shoes or Ladies Italian Shoes