Antwerp’s been cutting avant-garde fashion since the eighties when the Antwerp Six (including Dries Van Noten) hit the scene. Visit the ModeNatie Building to see it all at once. Collections at the Mode Museum range from sixteenth-century Belgian lace to Bernhard Willhelm’s inflammatory flag dresses. The newest addition to the complex (opened in fall 2007) is the surreal, 10,000-square-foot Yohji Yamamoto shop, filled with the Japanese designer’s trademark sculptural menswear and womenswear, handbags from his Y’s line, a new jewelry collection co-created by Mikimoto, and the debut women's collection from his daughter Limi.
Multitask at Something Els Atelier & Café (Oude Beurs 58; 011-32-32-31-26-14), a leather workshop, bar, and store, where you can knock back a few Duvels at the bar while watching husband-and-wife team Christian and Els Van Doorn make one-of-a-kind leather and metalwork pieces. Their wallets, totes, and gloves are also carried down the street in the KAN Antwerpen showroom.
Paleis is the Urban Outfitters of Antwerp. The tidy, colorful shop is stocked with affordable, edgy streetwear (T-shirts, hoodies, jeans, and accessories), all designed by emerging European fashion labels like Jack & Jones, Vero Moda, and nümph.