Clothes designer Bela Shehu - our Philadelphia Wallpaper* City Guide insider

The Insider's Guide to Philadelphia

Fashion designer Bela Shehu shares her favourite places as featured in our Wallpaper* City Guide

With its world-class art museum, idiosyncratic culinary traditions and easy tempo, visitors to the East Coast of the United States shouldn’t overlook Philadelphia. Just ask Bela Shehu.

A native of Albania, Shehu moved to Philadelphia in 1997 and launched her clothing label, NINObrand (333 S 20th Street, T 267 761 9388) which favours monochrome hues, in 2002. She appreciates the city’s warm attitude and slower pace, which she says “makes it safe to experiment.” Here are her picks from the city of brotherly love.

Shehu likes Joan Shepp (1811 Chestnut Street, T 215 735 2666) – “a crown jewel” – for its progressive international labels, and also recommends Knit Wit (1729 Chestnut Street, T 215 564 4760), an eclectic womenswear boutique. For homewares, the bazaar-style Material Culture (4700 Wissahickon Avenue, T 215 849 8030) “always tickles me.”


Brick and Mortar, Philadelphia
Brick and Mortar, Philadelphia

To relax, Shehu might take a dip in Devil’s Pool, a swimming hole in Wissahickon Valley Park, or indulge her sweet tooth at chocolatier Teuscher (200 S Broad Street, T 215 546 7600). She is a fan of V Street (126 S 19th Street, T 215 278 7943); “their dan dan noodles waken all dormant senses.”

Shehu often visits homey Brick and Mortar (315 N 12th Street, T 215 923 1596) for an aperitif, before dinner at The Good King Tavern (614 S 7th Street, T 215 625 3700), for the French-inspired bistro menu, or laidback fine-diner Vernick (2031 Walnut Street, T 267 639 6644), housed in a Rittenhouse brownstone. Evenings might close with a nightcap at Ranstead Room (2013 Ranstead Street) or live music at the intimate Boot & Saddle (1131 S Broad Street, T 267 639 4528).

For more local insight, check out the print version of our Philadelphia Wallpaper* City Guide here.