Ho Chi Minh is truly a shopping paradise, whether you are looking for bespoke fashion, local silks or even handcrafted lacquerware. As the world becomes one big shopping mall of international brands, Ho Chi Minh retains its love of boutique fashion and one off collections – and all at a fraction of what you might pay for any of the European or Japanese brands. Here are our top 10 picks of the best fashion boutiques in the city:
A designer with worldwide fame for his cutting edge yet elegant women’s line (and one of the hottest names in world fashion following his critically acclaimed show at London Fashion Week), Vietnamese designer Nguyen Cong Tri makes stunning evening dresses at his boutique on Nguyen Dinh Chieu Street in District 3, a few blocks from Reunification Palace. Depending on how daring the customer is, they might bolster their wardrobe with an elegant floor length dress embellished with feathers, a silk blouse with three-dimensional flowers exploding out of the fabric or even a bodysuit designed to look like the human musculature. This is a boutique for standout items with real wow factor. They have several off the rack options and many bespoke creations available, although it can take up to 10 days and several fittings for the most technical pieces.
- Location: 194 Nguyen Dinh Chieu Street, District 3
- Tel: (+84 8) 39306757
One of the real success stories of Vietnamese fashion, Khaisilk started in 1980 with one shop and has grown into a national brand of boutiques, restaurants and hotels. Despite their growth, Khaisilk still produce the same luscious silk scarves, ties, shirts and blouses, in both muted everyday tones and more flamboyant hues that has won them many fans throughout the world. On our last visit, standout items included a figure hugging Chinese style silk dress buttoned to the neck, cute his and hers silk robes, and a colourful range of leather handbags. Reputedly, this is where the Princess of Thailand shops for scarves, sheets and other luxury silk items so anyone heading down to their flagship, multi-level store on Dong Khoi Street is in prestigious company. Another reason we love Khaisilk is because off the hanger fashion can be tailored here at little or no extra cost.
- Location: 107 Dong Khoi Street, District 1
- Tel: (+84 8) 38291146
Magonn is a bohemian, start-up fashion boutique with a fantastic young women’s line. There are currently two branches open in Ho Chi Minh with a style that meanders between contemporary and retro, with cute nautical striped dresses for everyday and some sexy strapless dresses that are perfect for a night on the town. Magonn’s designs are sweet and playful with polka dots, 60s inspired floral swirls and a love of pastel shades. There is something at Magonn to suit most budgets and at their Le Thank Ton address they have a cafe on the second floor; however, we still recommend visiting their larger boutique on Hai Ba Trung Street first.
- Location: 41 Hai Bà Trưng, District 1
- Tel: (+84 8) 38 220649
Renowned designer Luis Antonio Torres has worked for the biggest fashion houses in the world including Gucci and Armani so it was a real boon for Ho Chi Minh when he moved to the city in 2009 to open his own fashion boutique – Massimo Ferrari. Massimo Ferrari produces bespoke Italian menswear for select clients who know exactly what they want and expect to receive exactly what they order. The quality of materials and craftsmanship is equal to anything found on Saville Row in London but at seriously lower prices. The showroom is a well proportioned mix of classic European suit styles and men’s apparel, including suede loafers and smart leather workbags. There are also smaller items such as cufflinks and ties that would make a perfect souvenir for a discerning gentleman.
- Location: 42A1 Tran Quoc Thao, District 3
- Tel: (+84 8) 3930 6212
L‘usine stocks a unisex collection of contemporary fashion, combined with an art gallery and one of the coolest coffee shops in Ho Chi Minh on the second floor. The fashion range here is supplied by emerging Vietnamese labels as well as contributions from abroad so there is a nice range of everyday T-shirts from Cheap Monday, retro lace dresses from Boaime and handmade laquerware from Indochine. The interior design of brushed concrete floors and whitewashed brick at L’usine is hipster perfection and you could easily waste half a day shopping and snacking on macaroons.
- Location: 70B Le Loi Street, District 1
If you are looking for a bespoke ball gown or something extra special, then this tailor close to Ben Thanh Market is the best place to go. KIN Boutique has garnered a reputation through word of mouth due to their impeccable work and jaw-dropping use of chiffon and satin to enhance evening gowns. It’s worth bearing in mind that dresses take over a week to make and may require several fittings, although they do offer worldwide shipping. There is also a ready-to-wear section, again with a focus on interesting materials, and on the second floor they have a range of wedding gowns.
- Address: 198 Lê Thánh Tôn, District 1
- Tel: (+84 8) 3502 3090
Using a combination of lacquer, leather and stainless steel, My Way Deco produces homeware that is both fashionable and functional: an arching, stainless steel egg cup that resembles a scroll, a range of asymmetrical ashtrays and a black lacquer and leather coffee table all took our fancy on our latest visit. There is a real mix of European and Vietnamese characteristics in the design of the pieces and it creates something totally unique. Mature yet funky – let the yellow and black bumble bee exterior be your guide to one of the best homeware boutiques in Ho Chi Minh City.
- Address: 13 Nguyen Thiep Street, District 1
- Tel: (+84 8) 3823 8532
Dogma is part urban clothing shop, part art gallery, selling classic propaganda imagery from the Vietnamese War stamped onto T-shirts, hoodies, coffee mugs and plenty more besides. The clothes are made with all natural fibres and have the feel of premium quality. The art gallery is another intriguing space with many classic paintings from that divisive era – some of which show military imagery, and others promoting egalitarian ethics and encouraging everyone to work hard for the common cause. There are two tiers of paintings, reproductions and prints – obviously prints are much cheaper, but it’s nice that there is something for every budget. Dogma is on the second floor of a shophouse above a funky knickknack shop called Saigon Kitsch that sells diaries, pens and other colourful souvenir-type items. It is located on Pasteur Street, close to Le Loi.
- Address: 1st Floor, 43 Ton That Thiep, District 1
- Tel: (+84 8) 3821 8272
Vietnamese designer Do Manh Cuong is perhaps the standout designer of high end fashion in Vietnam and DMC is his personal chic boutique selling both men’s and women’s elegant fashion items. Stand out items include layered floor length dresses and formal men’s jackets. Bold use of colour is a trademark of Coung’s style – formerly black and white was synonymous with the DMC clothing, although now he is moving into a broader palette. There is a range of day wear and more formal night time apparel on offer. Do Manh Cuong had previously worked for Christian Dior before returning home to open this boutique so it is a great opportunity to pick up a unique luxury garment that you won’t be able to find anywhere else.
- Address: 213 Lý Tự Trọng, District 1
Another widely acclaimed Vietnamese designer with awards and recognition, Minh Hanh has her flagship boutique in the Vietnam Designers House close to Turtle Lake roundabout in District 3, and also has a permanent display in Zen Plaza shopping mall in District 1. Her fashion is worn by celebrities and fashion icons throughout Vietnam so if you are looking for something fresh and unique, a visit to Minh Hanh has got to be on your itinerary. Bright colours and a fusion of classic Vietnamese culture with modern asymmetrical cuts are the trademarks of this fashion house.
- Address: Vietnam Designers House - 161A Hai Ba Trung, District 3
- Tel: (+84 8) 3521 0641