Antwerp Fashion Shopping

Dear Antiques Diva,

top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>I am catching a flight from NYC to Amsterdam tomorrow to come visit you and am looking so forward to our “Girls Trip” to Antwerp! I was thinking about your series “Living La Diva Loca” and thought you might be able to recommend a boutique in Antwerp where I could buy a new gala gown or floor-length cocktail dress? I know you bought your gown in Holland, but by chance do you have any fashion addresses in Antwerp to share?

La Reine

Dearest La Reine,

top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>I am looking very forward to your visit and our girls trip to Belgium. I know of a few addresses of “must go” places in Antwerp, but I decided that my friend The Belgian Beauty would be able to answer your question a million times better than I could. The Belgian Beauty waxes so poetically about Antwerp shopping that she has me quivering with excitement each time she pulls out her little black book….

so Ta Ta from Me – The Antiques Diva™

… and Greetings from The Belgian Beauty!

The street to shop is the Schuttershofstraat, which runs parallel with The Meir – the main shopping drag. You might find something at Princess on the Meir, but I recommend you go around the corner to the Schuttershofstraat where you’ll find Natan. Here you’ll find designer gowns by Eduard Vermeulen, who is known for his simple (therefore not cheap) evening gowns. At #9 is Antwerp’s best shoe shop Coccodrillo. For beautiful Belgian leather purses you can go to Delvaux — the Belgian equivalent of Hermes.

Around the corner of the Schuttershofstraat is the Huidevettersstraat, with Belgian fashion such as Scapa and Caroline Biss. Around the other corner is the Lange Gasthuisstraat, with a huge Flamant store in a beautiful old house. Upstairs inside Flamant you can have something to eat or drink as well. Not to be missed is the Dries Van Noten flagship store on the nearby Nationalestraat #16 — if you like his style, that is!

For Italian fashion, a beautiful shop is” target=”_blank”>Tonny Linders at Oudaan #20. I don’t know if they also have Belgian designers, but just go inside and ask and enjoy the impressive ornate interior! They sell Valentino and such but are very friendly — even to me when I only buy there only at the end of summer sale, for 10 % of the original price!

There are fancier shops on the Frankrijklei, at the other side of the Meir near the Opera. There is a huge vintage shop I want you to know about, it’s called Pardaff and is near the Opera and the Atheneum [a school]. I forget the name of the street but if you want a “big name” second-hand evening dress you could find it here. There is another vintage shop in the Steenhouwersvest, near the Kloosterstraat, where all the antique shops are clustered.

I hope you have successful shopping & will find the perfect evening dress! Have a good time in Antwerp! If you need any more information, just let me know.

The Belgian Beauty

Living La Diva Loca – Part 5 – Little Black Book

ext time you’re in Paris, why don’t you take a page from my little black book and hire your own paparazzi? Trust me, nothing feels better than walking around Paris with your own fashion photographer catching your every cobblestoned step. My personal paparazzi was Mimi Banks, a New Yorker-turned-Parisian fashion photographer, who has done work with L’Oréal, Lancôme, Biotherm and several modeling agencies, including the world-famous Elite Model Agency. With experience such as this, Mimi knows how to make even a mere mortal like me feel like a model and look like a million euros. Better yet, she doesn’t cost a fortune! Mimi comes to private clients, spending an afternoon or evening, capturing a minute, moment or event.

Mimi Banks is a professional, dynamic and fun photographer. As an American, she is a native English speaker, yet she speaks French like a true Parisian and can do the talking for you when you’re out and about on “les rues” should your French be “pas bien”. Visit Mimi Bank’s web page to find out more information. Although, if I recall, her website is a little out of date, so perhaps it’s best to email Mimi today to find out what she can do for you…. .

Of course, if you’re going to have your pictures done, why not have your hair done too?

I’m about to let you in on Paris’ best-kept secret — Private Stylist and Beautician Laurie Hoffmeyer Laid. Like Mimi, Laurie is also an American and she comes to your apartment or hotel room and will do your hair whether it be “”, a quick trim, a full-blown haircut or highlights and coloring. Knowing Laurie’s list of usual clients, she’s likely to be visiting you in your hotel room then whisk off afterwards to an appointment at the Ambassador’s residence.

While I can’t name names (for a lady never tells), I can say that when a certain former first lady is in town she always stays with her friends at the American Ambassador’s residence and, before public appearances, relies upon Laurie’s magic touch to fluff her jet-lagged hair.

Lastly, Laurie happens to be one of my favorite people in Paris. Wisconsin born and bred, Laurie offers a brand of down-home hospitality not often found amongst all the pretty people in Paris. She also happens to have a life story that would be the perfect starting point in a best-selling plot of a John le Carré novel. Back in Green Bay, Laurie met and married an Algerian hotelier and lived in North Africa for several years before taking up residence in Paris a decade ago when her husband took over a Parisian hotel. It was in Algeria when she made her niche, becoming known as “the hairstylist of the Embassies” and since then she has been charming her way into the hearts of hundreds of private clients. Her fee structure is quite comparable to a “coiffeur de quartier” and is “un vrai bon marché” given her expertise, exclusive clientele and the fact that she comes to you in the privacy of your own home or hotel. Plus, as my mom said after Laurie did her hair, “this is the best haircut I’ve ever had.”

I can’t give you Laurie’s phone number or email address, as it’s private, but if you email The Antiques Diva at I’ll be happy to connect you with Paris’ best kept secret – an American coiffeur extraordinaire!

Gros Bisous,

The Antiques Diva™

Check out the Living La Diva Loca Series!
Part 1 –
Haute Couture Ball Gown Shopping
Part 2 – Shoe Shopping
Part 3 – Tuxedo Shirt Shopping
Part 4 – A Night To Remember
Part 5 – Little Black Book