In the early 1900s, Deák Ferenc Street – currently known as Fashion Street – was a charming and lovely architectural gem that buzzed with life in the heart of Hungary’s capital. Unfortunately, as was the fate of many European cities, Budapest suffered greatly as a result of the Second World War, and the subsequent socialist era saw the destruction and covering up of numerous beautiful buildings around the city. That 50-year period nearly completely buried the wonderful downtown street: In the mid-1990s, Deák Ferenc Street merely served as a dark passageway between two locations.
At the beginning of 2000, urban developer Péter Csipak had an outstanding (and truly bold) vision: to single-handedly return the street back to its old splendor and turn it into one of Central Europe’s most prestigious high streets. Accomplishing that was no easy task: The dream of creating a thematic, luxurious fashion street required steady acquisition of nearly every building and property on the street. After selling his previously owned restaurants and companies, Csipak founded a real estate development company, Immobila Ltd., and began the process.
Dealing with each and every owner on an individual basis, one by one, the company bought the properties over the course of four difficult and trying years. After all the properties had been acquired, thematic reconstruction began. Molded facades were carefully torn down to reveal the underlying, century-old buildings that had been planned by the masters of architecture in Hungary at that time. The valuable architectural heritage was carefully protected during the renovation, while, at the same time, the latest innovative solutions were applied. All of the work was completed in partnership with local and foreign architects and art historians. What was the result? A dream came true in 2008, when Fashion Street opened to the public as one of Central Europe’s most prominent high streets, featuring two 5-star hotels, luxury fashion brands, and award-winning restaurants.
Credit: Fashion Street Budapest
Celebrating its 11th anniversary this year, Fashion Street is livelier than ever. It is the embodiment of its motto “Fashion Street – Your Lifestyle” and now operates not only as a shopping street, but as a cultural hub and a high street, with various programs and services in many areas. Deák Palace, one of the street’s most beautiful (and Instagram-friendly) buildings opened as Fashion Street Gallery this year. After holding five contemporary exhibitions, the gallery has ambitious plans for the upcoming autumn and winter seasons, including a charity auction as well as more exhibitions, art events, and supporting programs for artists.
The naming of internationally known Hungarian actress Andrea Osvárt as Fashion Street’s 2019 Ambassador has reinforced the brand’s fashion and lifestyle values. Supporting events like plastic-free July, a collaboration with Lush, suggesting mindfulness through the presentation of yoga practices, participating in the street’s cultural and charity events, exhibiting style and glamour via the introduction of the street’s fashion values: Osvárt is both the face and the spirit of what Fashion Street stands for.