28 June 2011

Shops Around My Corner

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).


  1. Carramba che sorpresa28 June, 2011 15:51

    Once I was walking down Rue Dansaert with a friend, and he made me notice something very true (something that people who have been living in Brussels for some time tend not to notice): these shops are empty. Empty as in "empty", not empty as in "London concept store empty, that they seem empty but actually there is a lot of hidden stock". They literally sell three things, normally in one or two sizes only. And their prices are inversely related to the emptiness of their spaces: I guess they need to jack up prices of the two items they carry to pay the rent, right?

    Do you ever go shopping in Antwerp? Now, that's a cool city.

  2. I think That the area around Rue Dansaert is the most vibrant part of Bruxelles. I love your choice of boutiques, you did not mention the big a9 and good) names (Margiela and Marc Jacobs among others) and fortunately you skipped Zadig and Voltaire (it is so overated).
    I am not sure about the Veja Shoes. They look very retro for sure, but not everythig from the past is worth digging up (expecially if it is from the '80s)...unless you normally sport a long mullet, highwaisted blue jeans and a boombox on your shoulder (with the stylish addition of taches for men only)...and ,thanks god, I have seen none of the above in you outfits so far

  3. @Carramba che sorpresa - I agree with you on the correlation between concept stores and emptiness (and in my opinion London is no exception...), but don’t worry, the stores flagged in this post sell more than three things, otherwise they wouldn’t see me in that often...

    I love Antwerp. I go there only a couple of times per year, but I'm planning to pay a visit very soon and write about it...

    @Anonymous – To make you feel better, I'm not a fan of the 80s...I like the Veja because they are a more interesting and stylish alternative to Converse sneakers...My favourites are the Taua model http://www.veja.fr/#/collections/Taua_Leather-9 I know I'm going to get few approving faces with this, but I'm also intrigued by the SP,MA http://www.veja.fr/#/collections/SPMA-4

  4. @Carramba che sorpresa - Although I like Just in case and some other stores, I agree with you, these places are not so crowded with limited choice and sometimes not so reasonable prices. VSP

  5. so yes, you do shop at icon! we only go to brussels for shopping! first we go to boulevard the waterloo and in the afternoon we go to the dansaert area! fabulous to see another blogger who knows where the best stores in the world are!

  6. hmm...can't find any of my size sob...sob