11.27.2010

MY FAVORITE SHOPPING SPOTS - ANTWERP

People oftentimes ask me where I get my clothes and stuff. So now I'm writing a detailed post on my favorite shopping spots! I tend to shop whenever I am on vacation just because there are more style and brand options. Both you and I know that I don't have a very mainstream taste in fashion. This makes it even more difficult for me to shop here in Manila since the choices are quite limited to mainstream labels like Zara and Topman. However, there are also boutiques here offering designer labels like Homme et Femme and Adora that charge an arm and a leg due to custom fees and shipping. There are other notable alternative shopping places like Cubao X and Archeology that showcase unique one-off pieces from up-and-coming local designers. For cheap and unique finds I go ukay-ukay (thrift) shopping once in awhile.

In the next few postings I will feature my favorite shopping destinations around the world... 

ANTWERP, BELGIUM

Antwerp is definitely one of the most beautiful cities in Western Europe. Known as one of the fashion capitals in Europe, it is home to the fashion movement so-called "Antwerp Six" which refers to a group of six fashion designers who all completed their study at the now famous Antwerp Royal Academy of Fine Arts. The Antwerp Six includes Walter Van Beirendonck, Ann Demeulemeester, Dries Van Noten, Dirk Van Saene, Dirk Bikkembergs and Marina Yee. I was very fortunate to watch the shows of the first three designers I mentioned in Paris last June. It was mind-blowing! If you love Belgian designers like I do then I absolutely recommend that you swing by Antwerp. Apart from designer flagship stores, they also have great consignment boutiques that offer designer labels at a fraction of its retail price. The last time I was there I scored an amazing wool Ann Demeulemeester cardigan for 100 euros! They also have several thrift shops scattered all over the city if your pockets are hurting! 
Also, make sure to bring me some of those mouth-watering Belgian dark chocolates!


Ann Demeulemeester Flagship

I literally got lost looking for this store. It is absolutely one of the most stunning stores I have ever seen. I love the minimalist interior of the store. When I got in the store I asked the SA if Ann was there. Sadly, she wasn't! If she was there then I would have impulsively bought something and shamelessly asked for her precious autograph! I know it sounds cheesy! But would you blame a fan boy like me for dreaming! 


Dries Van Noten Flagship

The Dries store in Antwerp is huge. It carries all of Dries's lines. I was lucky enough to score Dries's F/W 2010 lookbook at this store. Dries has been reputedly the most successful among all of the members of the Antwerp Six! 


Walter Van Beirendonck Flagship

Van Beirendonck's massive store is hands down my favorite store in Antwerp. It literally looks like a museum. It has a pretty neat automatic garage door that goes up when you enter the store. And then it has a bunch of psychedelic looking venetian blinds that rotates and forms Warhol and Lichtenstein-like images. Too bad they don't let people take photographs inside the store. I would have loved to take gazillion photos of the well-curated store. Aside from Van Beirendonck's collection, the store also showcases other avant garde designers like Henrik Vibskov and Bernhard Wilhelm. You can also find amazing art pieces for sale if you have a lot of dough to burn.


Stephan Schneider Flagship

It is almost impossible to find Schneider's store in Antwerp. It is literally located off the main street and the name of the store on the glass is barely visible. You literally need to look for it in order to find it. I'm not kidding. You can find his latest collection at the basement of the store. I have been obsessed with his line ever since I bought my Schneider oversized cardigan years ago from South Willard when I was still living in San Francisco.


Veronique Branquinho Flagship

Too bad Branquinho's store was closed when I visited last year. 


Yohji Yamamoto 

This Yohji is actually much nicer than the Tokyo store. The store is quite enormous and very well curated. In fact, it looks more like a museum than a store. Aside from Yohji's various clothing lines, it also carries Yohji's daugher Limi Feu's womenswear line which I personally love!


Prague

If you're looking for high-end goth-ninja garb then Prague is the store for you. They mix critically-acclaimed Belgian designers like Raf Simons and Haider Ackeman with highly covetable international labels like Rick Owens and Carol Christian Poell. They also carry several underground Japanese labels with a cult following like Julius and The Viridi Anne. If I win the lottery I will go straight to this store and blow a load of cash! Maybe I'll get you something if you've been good to me.


Sien

I am sure that half of the most fashionable ladies in Antwerp shop at Sien. The lovely owner of this store is a total sweetheart. She gave me directions on how to get to Van Beirendonck's store. Sien carries several of my favorite womenswear designers like Cathy Pill, Christian Wijnants, Hussein Chalayan, Sandra Backlund and Sophia Kokosalaki. They also have a great selection of PS1 handbags!


Houben Outlet

If you're looking for great deals on designer stuff then make sure to swing by the Houben Outlet. They carry Alaia, CDG, Celine, Watanabe, Raf, Yohji, Undercover and more on the cheap!