Fashion shopping, beauty breaks and culture galore: our best addresses in the bustling capital of South Korea.
The HyundaiSeoul, the store of the future
This mall ultramodern, inaugurated in early 2021, deploys on half a dozen floors a concept based on experience and sensory experience, with airport volumes, huge cascading fountains, trees, fragrant air, but also a guidance service provided by robots that walk around the ground floor to guide visitors. The gigantic basement is entirely dedicated to gastronomy, while the rest of this building, designed as a ship of the future, hosts the biggest luxury brands in fashion, beauty, decoration and high-tech.
Sulwhasoo, the most sophisticated of traditional spas
On the most beautiful avenue in Gangnam-gu, the Sulwhasoo Institute captures the light via its graphic architecture and its hypnotic grid of brass threads. The high-end skincare brand is an institution here. Its success is based on years of scientific research to obtain the best natural care from ginseng. To try: the Heritage Ginseng Journey signature face and body treatment, based on the ultra-concentrated essence of the root, which stimulates the self-regeneration of cells and encourages their “resilience”.
18, Dosan-daero 45-gil, Gangnam-gu.
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Lie Sang Bong Tower, the headquarters of the star fashion designer
With its undulating and immaculate facade – inspired by a Korean painting of the XVe evoking “an ethereal utopia” – the headquarters of star designer Lie Sang Bong is renowned throughout Seoul. It is indeed in this tower with multiple award-winning architecture, in the heart of the Gangnam-gu district, that the man who imposed his name in the 1990s gathered his offices, his workshops – which can be visited – and a boutique-showroom, in which one finds, in addition to its collections, the Lie line, signed by his son Chung Chung Lee, as well as other local designers. He also exhibits works of contemporary art from his private collection there. Featured on the official Paris Fashion Week calendar from 2002 to 2014, the designer even offers hand-painted upcycling pieces.
Beaker, the multi-brand for young designers
Amomento, Le17Septembre, Youth… The selection of brands is so sharp and sought after that you have to queue to enter this boutique, which promotes new talents and emerging labels as well as the cream of independent fashion. For young designers taking their first steps here, it’s already a “fashion recognition”! You can also, if you wish, come out of the place in a cloud of 100% Korean niche perfumes… Chic, playful and exclusive.
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Starfield Coex Mall, the XXL library
We first go to this vast shopping center for its mind-blowing library: some 50,000 books arranged on four spectacular pillars. Then, you can explore the other side of the local culture: endless aisles of shops, but also cinema, theater, museum, and even aquarium!
Olive & Young, paradise for beauty addicts
This chain of cosmetics shops offers all the famous Korean beauty masks made of paper tissue impregnated with clever formulas… if not miraculous, in any case comforting and beneficial. Make-up, body care, targeted products (acne, anti-aging, anti-spots, etc.), perfumes, healthy snacks: it’s all there!
White Birch Story Tea House, the manga tea room
Hansel and Gretel without the witch! This adorable tea room is decorated like a manga version chalet, with the walls lined with little lucky notes left by visitors. We love the red bean sorbet, served in several layers of delicacies, and the hibiscus or magnolia smoothies.
Yulgok-ro 1 gil 74-15, Samcheong-dong.
Ecru, designers around the world
We go there to find the Japanese brands Human Made or Kijima Takayuki, the casual chic Korean label StandAlone, without forgetting the Slovak Nehera, the French Maison Margiela or the Swedish Acne Studios, among dozens of others… Ecru is the rendezvous passionate about exclusive cuts and rare, eloquent and desirable discoveries.
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Åland, young and fun fashion
Yes, it’s a chain, but the store in Garosu-gil, this trendy shopping avenue, is a veritable cornucopia of streetwear and designer brands, with vintage fashion, exclusive collections and a wealth of ‘accessories. On four floors, we shop for colors, sharp, second-hand (college uniforms with badges), patterned knits (and small knitted robots), flowers, girly. It’s the anti-plain, the anti-boredom, the gentle extravagance.
Han Wa Dam, gastronomy on the grill
A traditional restaurant typical of barbecue on the grill, with the best qualities of meat accompanied by salads and varied soups. To protect the clothes, we equip ourselves with an apron-bib when we arrive! If you prefer, there are vegetarian versions. And a fine selection of French wines.
Kyobo, the megalibrary
The Korean equivalent of Fnac, with books, music and stationery. manhwas and webtoons, in children’s literature – it’s a popular family event – or in books in English, if you want to find some reference points.
1, Jong-ro, Jongno-gu.
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