With its rich history and international reputation, Königsallee is Düsseldorf’s most prestigious shopping destination. Affectionately referred to as ‘the Kö’ by local people, the street is home to a seemingly endless stretch of designer boutiques and retail malls. It is also a beautiful location: lying to the east of the imposing skyscrapers of the business district, Königsallee’s leafy charm provides a breath of fresh air.
Its beginnings can be traced back to the early 19th century when Düsseldorf was remodelled; the city’s war defences were replaced with a canal and a wide promenade was created, planted with chestnut trees.
Königsallee (King’s Avenue) quickly became synonymous with Düsseldorf’s elite, living up to its regal name. The Breidenbacher Hof hotel opened in 1812, attracting a prestigious clientele of kings, queens, politicians and artists. Fashion events began in 1949 with an outdoor show and trade fair. This became the Igedo Fashion Fair, an event which is still held annually, attended by the world’s top designers and fashion buyers.
Today, the life-blood of Königsallee is the eastern bank, where shoppers can take advantage of over 100 high-end boutiques. Whether they covet Italian heritage at Max Mara and Armani, home-grown German brands such as Jil Sander, or the enormous flagship stores of Abercrombie & Fitch and Philipp Plein, shoppers will not be disappointed by Königsallee’s exhaustive selection.
Ronald Hoogerbrugge, general manager at the city’s InterContinental hotel believes this fine range of fashion has put Düsseldorf on the map as one of the world’s most prestigious shopping areas: ‘Königsallee provides inspiring shopping,’ he explains. ‘London has New Bond Street, Paris has rue Saint-Honoré, Rome has Via dei Condotti and Düsseldorf also presents a district that attracts a catwalk of stylish people from all over the world.’ Fashion is evidently a key concern of the InterContinental: situated right at the heart of Königsallee, the hotel offers its guests the opportunity to be truly immersed in the chic spirit of the area and often holds elaborate fashion events in its lobby.
Königsallee is also known for its fine jewellery, with world-class accessories brands including Wempe, Tiffany & Co and Bucherer gracing the eastern side. The area’s local jewellery boutiques are particularly desirable, offering a fine selection of carefully chosen capsule collections and bespoke pieces. The Jafarov jewellery store is a must-visit for any accessories aficionado. Using precious stones sourced from Madagascar, Bolivia and India, the company creates striking jewellery pieces which are handmade in the German town of Idar-Oberstein. Owner Leyla Jafarova is excited about the upcoming season at the boutique: ‘We’ve added a special new line called Leyla by Jafarov,’ she says. ‘It’s trendy and younger, but still extraordinary.’
Shoppers will need plenty of time to explore the many treats Königsallee has to offer and this is before they have even considered the malls. Some of Europe’s most attractive shopping complexes can be found on the street, providing a comprehensive selection of high-end couture as well as affordable favourites.
One such mall is Kö Galerie, a newly refurbished centre offering an outstanding range under its glass-domed roof. Manager Hans Meijers is proud to announce the extensive re-design is finally complete: ‘Most of our shops have been completely reconstructed and shoppers can now enjoy innovative new design schemes at boutiques like Thomas Sabo, Lacoste and Mytho,’ he explains. The mall also provides fine cuisine and a range of in-house entertainment; live music, art exhibitions and special performances are regularly held in the mall’s atrium.
Further north up Königsallee is Galleria Kaufhof, Düsseldorf’s largest department store. The gigantic building was designed by Joseph Maria Olbrich and its copper roof and striking baroque architecture make it one of Düsseldorf’s most memorable landmarks. The complex comprises 20,000 square metres of shopping space housing toys, stylish homewares, fashion items and the latest gadgets; there’s also an impressive food hall stocked with local delicacies.
The longstanding appeal of Königsallee means that it has always been an unmissable site on any trip to Düsseldorf. With the famous Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus theatre and K20 art museum a mere stroll away, Königsallee is the perfect base from which to explore the delights of this classic German city, if you can tear yourself away from its many shops and restaurants for long enough.