Casa Frumoasa, owned by Julia Kristensen, reunites “exclusive menswear brand, sartorial tradition and special services such as VIP receiving or Valet parking”. Mrs. Kristensen practically blazed the way for luxury menswear in Romania. There are three Casa Frumoasa stores in Bucharest, located on 40 Lascar Catargiu Blvd, JW Marriott Bucharest Grand Hotel, 90 Calea 13 Septembrie and on , 63 – 81 Calea Victoriei (Radisson Blu Hotel) but you should definetly visit the one located on Lascar Catargiu.
The first reason is the building. It was designed in a distinctive Neo-Romanian style with a specific national character that emerged in the late 19th century by the famous Romanian architect Duiliu Marcu. The building was brought back to life in 2008 by Mrs.Kristensen who spent a small fortune restoring it.
The second reason is the brand’s portfolio: Scabal, Salvatore Ferragamo, Santoni, Lanvin Men, Jacob Cohen, Emanuelle Maffeis and Zimmerli. And if you like gourmet cuisine there could be a third reason. In 2011 Julia Kristensen brought the experience of luxury one step further by inaugurating a spectacular restaurant fittingly entitled Veranda Casa Frumoasa designed by Elena Busato – I have never tried Chef Avi Steinitz’s recipes but I heard truffle cream soup is delicious.
Over a month ago, a Gentleman traveling to Eastern Europe requested an advice regarding the Bucharest accommodation offer. I suggested Carol Parc Hotel, a five star boutique hotel which has the advantage of quietness when compared with Radisson Blu, JW Marriott or Athenee Palace Hilton and the comfort of 17 rooms that remind me of the elegance of the once called The Little Paris. Starting from this point on, the conversation slipped easily to the best shopping areas in the city, as my reader is a keen admirer of Saint Crispin’s based in Brasov.
So what are the shopping places worth visiting in Bucharest? What has this city to offer to a dapper Gentleman? Where can one buy a suit or a good pair of shoes?
Let’s start by saying that in his glory days, between the Wars, Bucharest was one of the most stylish cities of Eastern Europe. That being said, I am now intrigued by the fact that 20 years after the Communist Regime, Romanian tailoring still looks very pale. Unfortunately, although Bucharest Gentlemen were once famous for the cut of their suits, nowadays, a place in the city where one could order a bespoke suit at a quality resembling that of London or Paris, is almost impossible to find.
Most of Bucharest’s tailors seem to have forgotten their skills and they are presently satisfied with shapeless jackets. And it is a pity as Romanians have a great tradition in manufacturing. Before 1945 Nelu Mihaileanu was Romanian Royal Family Warrant Holder, Djabulov successfully competed with Louis Vuitton and Schul and Filip made wonderful bespoke shoes – the latter having a shop opened at Athenee Palace Hilton, in the place of the current Brasserie.
But that is no reason to be depressed. Good news come from a few enthusiastic Gentlemen such Cristian Vlad (Zenonni), Marius Dan owner of Tudor Tailor or Alex Moise&Alex Dragan (Sarto) . They all bet on the revival of the Bucharest style. And if you are still unsatisfied and you are looking for the next level the places to be are Casa Frumoasa (The Beautiful House) a true Menswear palace, Royal Men – a multi-brand luxury concept store and Ermenegildo Zegna store.