Fashion Shopping in Antwerp

Fashion is the fairy dust that woke up theslumbering riverside city of Antwerp, beginning when a gang of graduates from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts took the design world by storm in the 1980s, their members, among them Dries Van Noten and Dirk Bikkembergs, becoming feted as the Antwerp Six. Now, the city is home to one of Europe's best fashion museums, the Fashion Academy and shops, shops, shops.

 I don't wish to do down Antwerp's other cultural activities - there are some lovely Rubens paintings at the Fine Arts Museum, and you can even visit the chap's home - but, even to my untutored eye, this is a great place to go clothes-shopping. Aside from the big chain stores on the Meir, the smaller boutiques in the cobbled lanes just to the south range from "give your mother an aneurysm" teenage kicks to more stately chic for the city's wealthy elegantsia.

The bulk of the buying, however, seems to be in the middle ground, in shops such as Van Noten's own flagship, where "too old for fashion, never too old for style" is the unofficial motto. It's not cheap, mind you - how exactly the locals can afford to look so flash might be explained by Antwerp's notoriously manic January sales.

Where to stay in Antwerp

Antwerp is growing in popularity as a European city break destiantion and boast an excelent choice of places to stay.  Rezidor have many hotels in Antwep and say:
Belgium’s second city is hard to resist! Bursting with exquisite architecture, top-class fashion museums, trendy shops and a world-famous Diamond District , Antwerp has something for everyone. Stay in this Antwerp boutique hotel or enjoy modern elegance in the Radisson Blu Astrid Hotel. Both hotels are centrally located in Antwerp and only a short distance from the city’s main attractions, restaurants and bars. 
 Once you've warped the credit card, it'll probably be time to pop to the hotel, tear off the price tags and emerge, looking suitably "Antwerp", to join the city's weekly marathon - a veritable endurance test of Saturday-night sociability. First stop, this being Antwerp, has to be somewhere fashion and food collide.