Antwerp’s Concept Boutiques
In the 1980s, the designers known as the Antwerp Six (Ann Demeulemeester, Dries Van Noten, Walter Van Beirendonck, Dirk Van Saene, Marina Yee, and Dirk Bikkembergs) put the Belgian city on the fashion map. These days, it’s all-purpose concept boutiques that are stirring up quite the fuss in this town.
On Kloosterstraat, Antwerp’s most happening thoroughfare, the two-floor boutique Ra has become the fashion crowd’s oft-visited shopping destination. Rodarte and Opening Ceremony share shelf space with under-the-radar Belgian talents like Cédric Jacquemyn and Niels Peeraer (graduates of Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts, the Antwerp Six’s alma mater). The boutique also plays host to fashionable parties and eclectic art exhibitions (emerging artists such as Carlos Arroyo Galaxia and Sonny Vandevelde have shown here), along with a welcoming 50-seat café, where a daily influx of well-heeled industry players delight in a rotating menu by chef Hadas Cnaani. This year, the popular locale opened a permanent satellite in the Marais neighbourhood of Paris, a further testament to Ra’s popularity.
Farther along Kloosterstraat, for a different but no less all-encompassing shopping explosion, Your Premium Store has it all: designer goods like N.D.C. footwear, Acne jeans, Undergreen fragrances, and Canada Goose parkas; expert stylists at its hair salon; decorative pillows made of fabric scraps from the Dries Van Noten atelier; and even luxury car rentals that include the likes of Porsche and Bentley.
Top photo by Studio Obijn.