Members Only – Where to Find the Most Exclusive Shopping Experiences

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Blair Waldorf Shopping
Photo: Courtesy of CW

There are thousands of ways to shop: on your computer, on your phone, at a locally owned boutique, or at a mega mall. Across the world, shopping destinations like Fifth Avenue in New York City, Bond Street in London, Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, Oscar Freire street in São Paulo, Avenue Montaigne in Paris, and Tokyo’s Ginza district are as famous as the brands they carry and the well-heeled celebrities that frequent them. If you are of the elite class, you might choose a shopping experience offered at popular jetset destinations like the Gstaad Palace or you might invest in a package deal at The Carlton Hotel St. Moritz, which offers the ultimate shopping spree with an entirely private shopping experience at the  resort’s exclusive boutiques. But there are still shopping experiences so exclusive that they go far beyond the measures of personal shoppers or access to ritzy boutiques. They are found at members-only clubs around the world that boast hefty membership and annual fees and a shopping experience unlike any other.

Unsurprisingly, some of them can be found in Dubai, but beyond the UAE there are several secret shopping experiences that only the most in-the-know people have access to. As online consumerism grows, some of the world’s most exclusive private shopping clubs, like Celux in Tokyo, which was owned by the LVMH group and could only be joined after a rigorous vetting process, have shuttered their doors. However, the remaining clubs are adapting to the changing fashion industry by creating bespoke collaborations with major brands as a way of attracting new members.

Read on to find out more about some of the most exclusive shopping experiences in the world.

Bijan Los Angeles
Photo: Courtesy of Rodeo Drive
1

Bijan

Los Angeles

Iranian-American designer Bijan Pakzad – also known as the “most expensive” designer in the world – may have passed away in 2014, but his legacy continues at his flagship store on Rodeo Drive, Bijan. If you’re perusing the palm tree-lined streets of Beverly Hills and happen upon a yellow-and-black Bugatti parked on the street in front of a store with navy canopies overhanging its glass windows, you’ll know you’ve found one of the most legendary boutiques in the world. While Bijan is not a members-only club, you can only shop there by appointment, and screeners ensure that you will drop at least $100,000 before you ever walk in the door. For that reason, Bijan caters to leaders of industry, politicians (Barack Obama shops there), and famous clients like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Giorgio Armani. In the past, the store served male clients exclusively, but it has branched out to include a selection of womenswear. If you dare to enter the most expensive store in the world, don’t forget your Platinum credit card.

Bijan is located at 420 N. Rodeo Dr., Beverly Hills, CA, 90210. For an appointment, call (+1) 310 273 6544 .

The Windsor Suite at Heathrow Airport
Photo: Courtesy of Heathrow Airport
2

The Windsor Suite

London

Behind an unmarked door in Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 5 lies a private oasis that exclusively exists for the elite passenger. Frequenters of The Windsor Suite pay a fee of £1,800 for the privilege of whizzing past the masses in the airport straight to the lounge, and then on to whatever private jet awaits them. If you ever find yourself in The Windsor Suite, you might bump into David and Victoria Beckham, Rihanna, and any number of celebrities, athletes, politicians, and heads of state. While the luxurious lounge offers impeccable food and beverage amenities, one of its best perks is its private-shopper service. While you’re waiting for your flight, you can request a private shopping session, which means luxury brands like Dior, Alexander McQueen, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Prada will bring a selection of products to you in the lounge. Talk about first class!

In order to become a member, visit www.heathrowVIP.com.

Palazzo Ralph Lauren Milan
Photo: Courtesy of Ralph Lauren
3

Palazzo Ralph Lauren

Milan

Palazzo Ralph Lauren – a gorgeous club located at Ralph Lauren’s headquarters in Milan – opened in September of 2015. In order to access this location, you must be invited, and the invitation process remains a mystery to all but an exclusive few lucky insiders. At the club, members will find Ralph Lauren products that aren’t available anywhere else, as well as access to direct orders of collections, private fittings and showings, an in-house chef, a private terrace, and invitations to exclusive events.

Palazzo Ralph Lauren is located at Via S. Barnaba, 27, 20122, Milano, Italy, but you must be uber connected in order to score an invitation to become a member.

Saks Fifth Avenue Club
Photo: Courtesy of Saks Fifth Avenue
4

Fifth Avenue Club

New York City

At Saks Fifth Avenue locations around the world, you will find access to the Fifth Avenue Club – a highly specialized personal-shopper service that is available by referral or asking the right people*. Inside a tranquil and beautifully appointed private room, personal shoppers are there to cater to your every need. Food and beverage services are included, and so are a host of other amenities like on-site or at-home tailoring, at-home delivery, and access to brands that Saks Fifth Avenue doesn’t even carry.

*A visit to Saks Fifth Avenue’s Stylist section provides an e-mail address that should point you in the right direction.

Fashion Avenue the Dubai Mall
Photo: Courtesy of The Dubai Mall
5

The List

Dubai

In order to get on The List at The Dubai Mall, you must undergo an application process that includes proof that you’ve spent at least AED 100,000 at the mall within the past month. Once your exclusive membership is secured, there are dozens of luxurious amenities available for those who have managed to land the coveted spot. They include access to the Lounge at Fashion Avenue, food and beverage services, porter services, access to bookings of the Lounge for private events, and valet parking. Personal shoppers are also available at the Lounge at Fashion Avenue, but you must secure their services separately.

Apply to be on The List by visiting www.thedubaimall.com and e-mail thelounge@emaar.ae to inquire about personal shoppers.

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