A Fashion Lover’s Guide to Brussels
Between the hip Dansaert district, the high-end Waterloo and Louise boulevards, and a costume museum to salivate over, Brussels has everything in store to provide a fashion-themed weekend well-spent.
Where to shop
KURE & Le Magasin
When KURE settled on Avenue Louise next to the international house of books Passa Porta in the late summer of 2013, it took no more than a few months for the multi-brand concept store to become a fixed fashionista value. In an elegant two-floor industrial space, artistic director Cyrielle Christiaens has pulled together an enticing mix of French, Belgian and Scandinavian brands, mostly focusing on easy-going staple pieces with a decidedly trendy edge to them—think a pair of all-black leather dungarees or an essential denim jacket. Falling in love with a piece of their select collection—or furniture (which is for sale)—but pushing off a decision could come to haunt you in time. Since most of their items come in limited stock, they’re often not seen again once they’re sold out.
Almost exactly three years later, the doors to their inevitable second shop, LE MAGASIN, swung open to reveal the same sky-high taste levels at affordable prices in the Dansaert district. Get a sample of the goods on Christiaens’s much adored Instagram.
KURE, Boulevard de Waterloo 13A, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium +32 2 414 21 77
LE MAGASIN, Rue Antoine Dansaert 48, Brussels, Belgium, +32 2 503 81 13
Having unearthed Hatshoe, an intimate shoe shop with a consistently picture-perfect window display, the words “bless you” take on another meaning. Usually, women don’t just bump into Lieve Buyse’s establishment on the Rue Dansaert—they walk in with a purpose. Buyse has been carefully curating her pocket-sized shoe emporium for a quarter of a decade, cultivating a Brussels fashion fixture with a loyal client base along the way. If you’re going to splurge on a pair of Dries Van Noten or Balenciaga designer heels while in Brussels, you can do it at Hatshoe.
Hatshoe, Rue Antoine Dansaert 89, 1000 Brussels, Belgium, +32 2 512 41 52
Hunting & Collecting
Over 300 square meters (3,229 square feet) of cutting-edge design with an art exhibition space in the basement, Hunting & Collecting is a space worthy of its name. Here is how it works: after founders Aude Gribomont and Niels Radtke scour the globe for unique clothing, footwear, furniture, and accessories with an artistic bent, they put up their treasured finds for all—men, women, and kids—to snoop through. As an ever-evolving concept space, the duo’s store flips identities every once in a while, and looks so far have included après-ski, South American desert, and paradise, among others. Needless to say, Brussels’s hippest have taken to Hunting & Collecting like bees to honey.
Hunting & Collecting, Rue des Chartreux 17, 1000 Brussels, Belgium, +32 2 512 74 77
Simple, cozy and with a stunning wooden floor, Jérémy and Nicolas’s downtown boutique on the Rue des Chartreux has been a welcome addition to men’s fashion options in Brussels. Along with a smattering of accessories, Centreville mainly carries Scandinavian (Norse Projects, HAN Kjøbenhavn) and European (A Kind of Guise, Universal Works) streetwear brands, with the occasional Japanese name thrown into the mix. The nobility of materials and knowledge about production processes are of the utmost importance for the genteel friends, so don’t hesitate to ask them the story behind your warm new flannel or classic coat.
Centreville, Rue des Chartreux 36, 1000 Brussels, Belgium, +32 2 513 59 63
Having been around since the mid-80s and often credited for creating the initial spark that transformed the Rue Antoine Dansaert into the vibrant haven of the hip it is today, Stijl is a living legend, both in men’s and women’s fashion. Not afraid to highlight avant-garde thinkers like AF Vandervorst, Dries Van Noten, Walter Van Beirendonck, and Ann Demeulemeester in their younger days, Sonja Noël continues to champion Belgian designers that dare to make a point. Any fashion enthusiast would be remiss not dropping by Sonja’s to take a look at the new faces displayed alongside Flanders’ most renowned.
Stijl, Rue Antoine Dansaert 74, 1000 Brussels, Belgium, +32 512 03 13
What to see
The Museum of Costume and Lace
Going back to fashion’s early days, Brussels’s Museum of Costume and Lace focuses on the heart of Europe’s textile past. Temporary exhibitions vary from bridal attire throughout the ages to architecturally inclined outfits, but the stars of the small museum are its lush historic gowns and intricate lace imaginings, a traditional national specialty.
Where to stay
Looking out over the Brussels skyline, a Louboutin book in lap and cocktail in hand, The Hotel seems the perfect fit for a weekend shopping spree. Of all its amenities (including fitness, spa, fine dining, etc.), the chic high-rise’s true winner to a fashion-focused mind is indisputably its 24th-floor Panorama Room with a fashion library composed of over a hundred books. Of course, its location on the high-end shopping street Boulevard de Waterloo and a stone’s throw from the equally posh Avenue Louise doesn’t hurt either.
The Hotel, Boulevard de Waterloo 38, 1000 Brussels, Belgium, +32 2 504 11 11
The Vintage Hotel
After scouring the Brussels streets for the capital’s premier shops all day, a spot of urban glamping can round out the experience quite fashionably. On the patio of Brussels’s Vintage Hotel, a shiny Airstream trailer awaits the tired traveler, providing an intimate but comfy nest 50 meters (164 feet) off Avenue Louise. Even if the caravan is not available, the wines by expert sommelier Tim and the hotel’s authentic ‘60s and ‘70s furniture won’t disappoint. In fact, the latter might even inspire further hunting adventures the next day, in Brussels’s generous array of vintage shops.
Vintage Hotel, Rue Dejoncker 45, 1060 Brussels, Belgium, +32 2 533 99 80