Chic Belgique


It seems the good old saying is true…no, just think about it, and especially if you live in Cologne…the grass is always greener on the other side! A day spent in search of the fresh and new, and the expectations to find endless amount of lesser known young design gems all handcrafting their wonders of fashion in the style similar to early Stephan Schneider work has been of no avail – the young designer neighbourhood is called the Belgian quarter (Belgische Viertel) and the most fashion-forward shops are selling the Belgians. This is no Amsterdam, and even no Brussels (which makes me think that I should do the city guide for my native town). Yet there are places to visit, designer names to know, and you can begin the visit by dropping by the brand new COS store – the opening is scheduled for the 28th of March, and do not forget the American Apparel across the street (they are both on Ehrenstr.), and off you go to the Belgian quarter located around Rudolfplatz, between Hohenzollernring and Moltkestrasse, on either side of Aachener Strasse. The first shop that grabs attention is Ludvik - Palmstrasse 43. It’s the designer atelier shop and showroom, well all that in one and in considerably tiny space. There’s one garment of each design, the styles aren’t entirely coherent in the silhouettes and the choice of fabric, but they never have to be, right? The cutie cape is now in my possession and three pages are in the ‘Young European Fashion Designers’ book alongside Sophie D’Hoore and Peter Bertsch.

Further on is Magasin Populaire on Brüsseler Platz 8. As a retail point for local young brands such as Subjektiva, mootwo, Forvert, Else it seems to be an attractive destination for a shopper like me (or I should rather say ‘the searcher’ since I mostly look but do not touch), yet I found it hard to see where are the locals and where are the well known brands – they are also stockists for Sessun, Shoe’shi Bar and Daydream Nation, and the entire slightly trashed presentation did not do me. On the contrary, I just couldn’t resist the Blutsgeschwister shop at Brüsselerstrasse 82, and it’s not about the clothes! The tiny room at the back of the shop with a fountain and plenty of kitschy colourful children clothing is an eye-catcher.

You also get the Blauer Montag on Limburger Str. But a big angry dog in the shop did not let me to come in (I’m not kidding)

and the vintage store California Select (by American Apparel) is on Maastrichter Strasse. Yet my true coup de cœur was Gold ( Antwerpener Str. 13) – a simple and tasteful retail point for Ann-Sofie Back, A.P.C., Stephan Schneider, Kaviar Gauche, Fifth Avenue Shoe Repair, etc… there was nothing that surprised me or that I did not know of before (except from very friendly Sebastian;), but happened to be the only shop where I could just live in - great selection, sober presentation, and praiseworthy taste in music.

There are still places remaining to visit during lunch breaks or after work. Tomorrow I’m off to Dusseldorf to get busy with re-matching in the COS store over there, so it sounds like a busy day at last.


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