PUBLISHED : Sunday, 04 March, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 04 March, 2007, 12:00am

Where? In the heart of downtown Beirut, Lebanon, where the hippest boutiques, restaurants and galleries can be found.

Who? Opened by Tony Salame in 1989, Aishti is Lebanon's answer to Neiman Marcus. It has grown from being an upmarket boutique into a chain of luxury department stores around the country and beyond.

Fashion finds: setting the standard for its offshoots, the original store is a designer paradise, with labels such as Prada, Miu Miu, YSL, Dolce & Gabbana, Dior, Sergio Rossi, Roberto Cavalli, Marc Jacobs, Marni, Burberry, Fendi, Chloe and Missoni among many others. Upstairs is Aizone, a space dedicated to the young and hip that carries edgier labels including Camper, True Religion, 7 for All Mankind, Armani Jeans and various other trendy LA brands. Children are catered to with the likes of Baby Dior, Juicy, Burberry Kids, Moschino and Armani Junior. If fashion isn't your thing, check out the sweet aromas of New York perfume collection Bond No 9, relaxing massage oils from aromatherapy brand This Works and By Terry beauty essentials. It also has an in-house line exclusively for men, featuring dress shirts, ties, jumpers and scarves made in Italy. Three high-profile Lebanese jewellers - Randa Khalil Raad, Randa Tabbah and Paolo Bongia - are exhibiting their work in-store until the end of April.

The vibe: everything at Aishti screams wealth and opulence. This mammoth store covers eight levels and is cool and sophisticated.

The crowd: only the super rich go to Aishti. Expect high-powered sheiks, Saudi princesses and Middle Eastern singers and actors.

Extras: the store also has a spa, cafe and hair salon. Aishti has branches outside Lebanon and plans to open in Jordan, Syria and Bahrain this year. Aishti owns and operates several mono-brand boutiques in the country, including Cartier, Gucci, Celine, Zegna and Diesel. For some good reading, check out the Aishti Magazine, which focuses on fashion, entertainment and design. The store hosts high-profile events, including fashion shows and car launches.

Aishti is at 21 El Moutran Street, Beirut, Lebanon, tel: 961 1 991111;


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