When I was looking for a new flat over a year ago, I had no doubt about the location. I wanted to live in Rue Antoine Dansaert, a street full of boutiques of not-so-famous and famous designers, small shops, art galleries and cafes. Basically, very far from anything related to my work life, and a little bit closer to something similar to an arty/urban quartier.
If you live in Brussels, or you are going to visit this city, these are some of my favourite places, just around where I live. Additional suggestions are always welcome.
Just In Case (63 Rue Leon Lepage) is the boutique of the eponymous Belgian label designed by Antwerp-based Vicky Vinck and Katrien Strijbol. What I like about their collections is the retro and romantic style. My advice is to get one of their dresses or skirts with the original and colourful prints: they look great even with a simple t-shirt.
Alelujua (6 Place du Nouveau Marché aux Grains) is the eco-shop of the area. "Where green fashion is fashion" it's written at the entrance, and it's definitely an interesting place to visit to find special labels, including the ecological sneakers Veja, which I really want to buy.
Icon (5 Place du Nouveau Marché aux Grains) is a store that sells some of my favourite French labels such as Vanessa Bruno and Isabel Marant, plus Acne, Band of Outsiders and more surprises at every season.
I'm not sure how to describe Beau (9 Rue Antoine Dansaert), the first word that comes to my mind is inspiring...It has a very eclectic mix of objects and labels: you can find Philip Treacy's hats, Denis Colomb's cachemire stoles and the Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle. Everything you 'need' in one place.
I mentioned Les Précieuses in several posts...what can I say? Pili Collado is my favourite Belgian designer for costume jewelry. Her downtown shop (83 Rue Antoine Dansaert) is like a beautiful box full of her sparkling necklaces, bracelets, brooches (tell me what you think about their 'Camelias'..?). If you need another reason to love this place, there you can also find collections by Antipast, Shourouk and Mühlbauer.
I already talked about Rue Blanche (39-41 Rue Antoine Dansaert) in a previous post, but wanted to show you more of their clothes...have a look at their windows...
Hunting and Collecting (17 Rue des Chartreux ) is the closest thing to one of those 'conceptual' stores that you can find in London. It is a space to visit like an art exhibition.. And I think it's the only place in Brussels that has the stylish French label Carven.
At 1 Rue Léon Lepage, there was Es-tu prête chérie?, a boutique selling beautiful sartorial dresses, which unfortunately closed at the end of May. Waiting for the launch of their online shop, I found out that a new store - AXL - will be opened in September. I feel quite positive about it...
PS: After this tour de force, you would need a break. If you want to avoid the 'standard' offer of Le Pain Quotidien (I'll never get why people are so obsessed with it), there is nothing better that a Mariage Frères tea with a home-made cake at the tea room A.M. Sweet (4 Rue des Chartreux).