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Budapest is far from Westernized in the fashion department compared with most cosmopolitan European cities, but that doesn’t mean women don’t have style. In this largely brand-free capital, Hungarians showed off an affinity for all things cotton — minidresses layered over leggings; white jeans; cropped harem pants and unlaced Converse high-tops to name a few — during a recent heat wave. Quick-dry clothing makes sense, considering many an afternoon is lolled away at the 15 public thermal baths. A more boho hub is the centrally located 225-acre Margaret Island, where the dress code has more of a dash of D.I.Y.
Out-of-towners near the Corinthia Grand and the New York Palace appeared to take to the casual vibe with ease, though drinking palinka, double-distilled fruit brandy that is a Hungarian favorite, was less smooth. Should any major labels choose to try to dress things up with freestanding stores, there is already competition — Escada, Louis Vuitton, Gant, Zara, Esprit and Replay to name a few.
This story first appeared in the June 9, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.