Antwerp Opulence & Window shopping

Brussels may be famous for her secret corners and hidden gems, but Antwerp has a few surprises up her sleeve, too.  Like Meir, Antwerp’s pedestrianised main shopping lane connecting the Central Station with the KBC Tower and Grote Markt, lining up all the usual high street suspects. If you can take your eyes off the latest accessories and fashions you will discover grand buildings of various architectural styles, some dating back to 16th century.

But even if temptation is hard to resist, there’s still more than what meets the eye. For example, you walk in Urban Outfitters because the window looks attractive but you forget to rummage through trendy tops, bottoms and homeware because this marble staircase beckons you upstairs…

DSC00627… where you stumble on this luminous ceiling beautifully adorned with stained glass… DSC00630i… then you exit through glass doors onto a balcony with a view: DSC00634

Which actually is part of the historical Stadsfeestzaal (City Festival Hall), originally built in 1908 to bring under one roof a multitude of large scale festivities. The Hall was designed in grand style fit for a king, complete with marble staircases, opulent gilded decoration and this impressive glass-vault. Beside festivals and exhibitions it housed different markets. It was precisely during a christmas market, in 2000, that a huge fire burned down everything, leaving just the iron skeleton standing. Fortunately, the building had been classified as a historical monument safeguarding it from demolition. Reconstruction started soon after the fire, following the original designs to the letter. The only -essential- difference is that the hall became a shopping centre, complete with modern fixtures and a champagne bar.

Where the true king reigns supreme: M*O*N*E*YDSC00632iIn contrast, the narrow cobbled streets offer small, elegant boutiques and understated, contemporary styles; I could definitely see me in this one:

DSC00535British understatement with a twist; but it’s that houndstooth check men’s coat I was fixated on:

DSC00537Daleks in Union Jack? I obey! DSC00534Even found a coat worthy of the gorgeous Eighth Doctor:

DSC00638

tumblr_inline_msaapzKjSr1qz4rgp

Doctor Who
Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor

All photos by Konstantinos Implikian.
Image of Paul McGann from tumblr 

Antwerp, 26-28 October 2013

 

 

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17 thoughts on “Antwerp Opulence & Window shopping

  1. A nod is as good as a wink! Daleks and Dr. Who! I am faithful (meaning haven’t watched other than ) Tom Baker as the Dr.! Great building. I guess the change in use was a condition for the rebuilding…

    • We are still watching old episodes here. I haven’t got one favourite Doctor, I rather like a couple or four reincarnations for different reasons. Nice a idea for a future post, time permitting (this is a blog about my favourite things, after all)..
      You are right, I read that the shopping centre was a condition for rebuilding. Give some, take some… ;-)

  2. Insanely gorgeous building! I felt the need to have a glass of champagne while I wandered. I love orange — your outfit was a great deal of fun. Did you buy it? The scarf could be put to a 100 different uses! XO

    • Reminded us a little of that out-of-this-world-amazing shopping mall in the Red Square in Moscow (not in size of course, that mall is crazy huge, but in opulence and glam)…
      I didn’t buy the outfit, kept crawling back to the shop, then opted for a pair of ankle boots I had been looking for some time, so I thought I should show some restraint! xxx

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