STIJL menswear store

If I seem absent, vague or lighthearted on this blog lately - there's a reason! And as soon as the champagne bubbles went up my nose, I felt rather satisfied and accomplished with what I have been working on so hard.
The shop where I work has recently seen an expansion in a form of a new space purely dedicated to menswear, and my colleagues and I have worked into the night to get at all done before the store opening last Saturday.  Stijl 'men' got a facelift - rails and shelves got moved, walls painted and new furniture installed. There's something 90's about it, or may be 70's - I don't know, but every space in a long narrow shop got a different treatment so that, as a customer, you get transposed from one atmosphere to another, somewhat smoothly, sometimes shockingly different. I took the photos before the window displays were done - they are blooming like exotic flowers, by the way, thanks to Dries Van Noten's magical floral prints, enclosed into a bright white space. In the first room you are welcomed by the utmost unwelcoming halogen lights and a monochrome collections by Ann Demeulemesteer, Kris Van Assche, with just a vague soft greys and blues of Stephan Schneider. Then you enter into a dark and cosy room with raw silk suits by Haider Ackermann - exclusive for Belgium only at Stijl. His truly luxurious fabrics in deep shades of burgundy and cobalt, and sharp tailored jacket shapes hang against the soft volumes of shirts that remind more of dressing gowns. Here you find the floral suits by Dries Van Noten and our newcomer Jan-Jan Van Essche, who has kindly (and with his own hands) constructed the special raw wooden rail and provided us with fantastic props that just breathe the coziness and coolness of his collections. I have talked about Jan-Jan's work many times - his project in Antwerp called Atelier Solarshop, and interviewed him for my fashion fanzine Various Sources, so you can imagine how happy I am to work in a store that carries his collection. Speechless!
Further comes the 'wintertuin' - or at least that's what I call the room under the skylight where the Dries Van Noten collection is. It's bright and cheerful with an overload of flower prints, somewhat balanced by a more serious side of his - the suits. It's such a fun collection, yet masculine and sporty.
And in the end of it all you find the secret room - entirely dedicated to Rick Owens. We even have a darkshadow carpet and walls to match - it's a soft but dark and brooding space for those who appreciate fashion for quality and design - NOT the trend-led hypes. Yet there's something for everyone, and we've got the limited edition Adidas x Rick Owens sneakers for those who don't let the hype pass by unnoticed.
Merchandising the whole lot was a challenge - there are just so many different concepts, styles, fashions, that one can easily be lost among them. Plus my job was constructing the entire store from scratch, in one day! Fuelled by pizza, enthusiasm, and some sort of permanent adrenaline rush me and my colleagues we just worked, worked and worked. The menswear buyer - the mastermind behind this project, just told me what he wants to see in each room and left me to it. While he was pricing the stuff, I was digging through the heaps of plastic underneath which the clothes were and trying to figure out how the collections were put together, like the puzzle pieces spilled on the table and I have to construct the picture - or even more - a three dimensional, functional and operating retail space...exciting and inspirational, exclusive menswear boutique dedicated to the best of Belgian design and beyond.
The result?
It's up to you to judge. If you're a guy - go see for yourself, try some holey Kris Van Assche sweaters, floral Dries Van Noten windbreakers, Jan-Jan Van Essche's oversized linen knits, acid yellow Ann Demeulemeester sneakers and just don't walk away without the amazing Raf Simons' neoprene t-shirt. If you are a girl - just go see!
...and think of your favourite and dedicated .origami mon ami blogger, i.e. myself - who is now quietly sipping a detox tea and admiring it all from the warm bed, from underneath a blanket - happy and exhausted.
Place du Nouveau Marche aux Grains 6/ Nieuwe Graanmarkt
1000 Brussel/Bruxelles


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