Düsseldorf has long been regarded as one of the most fashionable cities in Germany and its well-heeled residents are renowned for their discerning taste. With more than 800 designer showrooms, Düsseldorf regularly hosts leading buyers from the country’s top department stores and retailers, who set the trends for the next season. For members of the fashion set, the stunning Königsallee shopping street is, without question, one of the top places to see and be seen.
Königsallee (King’s Avenue) starts at the southern end of the lush Hofgarten park — often called the green lungs of the city — and stretches south for one kilometre. Pristine landscaping is a feature of this upscale shopping street, which is divided by the 31-metre-wide Stadtgraben canal, lined with chestnut trees and boasting two stunning bridges over its calm waters.
The setting is undeniably beautiful but the main attraction is definitely the shopping. With over 30 luxury stores, the boulevard has one of the highest concentrations of top-flight labels of any single street in Europe. ‘Königsallee is one of the best shopping streets in Germany and only has exclusive shops and luxury brands,’ says Ralph Gierhards, who runs the respected eponymous antiques shop.
‘Königsallee, with its rich tradition and grand heritage, has always been a cosmopolitan meeting point and remains the place to be for everybody who lives in or visits Düsseldorf,’ explains Cyrus Heydarian, general manager of the famous luxury Breidenbacher Hof hotel. He describes the street as ‘the heart and soul of Düsseldorf,’ and it’s certainly true that the city’s inhabitants feel warm pride towards the street, which they affectionately call the Kö.
Leaders in fashion
Along the eastern side of the boulevard there are numerous boutiques and flagship stores, from Italian labels Armani and Gucci to French heavyweights Chanel and Kenzo. The Dior boutique, designed by Raf Simons, resembles a chic Parisian apartment and is filled with mirrored walls and objets d’art.
Those in search of German heritage brands should head to Bogner. Founded by Olympic ski jumper Willy Bogner in the 1930s, the sportswear and leather goods label has been at the forefront of its field for generations. Mixing a retro aesthetic with cutting-edge performance, its blazers, sweaters and ski gear are essential for those who want to impress on the slopes during the day as well as out on the town at night.
As well as the world’s leading brands, the Kö is also home to a variety of innovative concept stores. Douglas is a luxury perfumery that features beautiful interior detailing such as oak-panelled furniture and opulent carpets. Customers can sample the latest perfumes at its renowned fragrance bar and those in need of a manicure can visit the nail bar.
Family-owned and operated since 1820, Franzen is a homewares and lifestyle concept store that has been a highlight of the Kö for nearly two centuries. The impressive space features three galleries and offers a vast selection of porcelain, glass, silverware, watches, writing utensils and stationery, all housed beneath a stunning glass dome.
According to Joachim von Bandemer, chief concierge at the InterContinental Düsseldorf hotel, visitors who venture slightly off the main thoroughfare will be richly rewarded. ‘The smaller side streets are always good if you are looking to discover new boutiques and young designer labels,’ he says.
Located on Steinstrasse, just off Königsallee, C Wirschke is one such hidden gem. Run by two brothers, the boutique specialises in Italian fashion and feels like a very well-appointed family home. Its range of exclusive, highly-coveted Italian brands include labels such as Antonelli Firenze, Alberto Biani, Anneclaire, Cruciani and Fabiana Filippi. London lingerie stylist Rigby & Peller is another must-visit. Situated on Blumenstrasse, the luxury boutique stocks a wide variety of exquisite swimwear and lingerie.
While most shops on and around the Kö follow the latest trends, antiques dealer Ralph Gierhards showcases the past. As well as pieces from the 18th and 19th century, his store displays art deco vases by Camille Fauré for Limoges alongside rare 20th-century furniture design classics, including chairs covered in mohair, sheepskin and bearskin. ‘I love a good mix of objects,’ he says. ‘As long as the quality is right you can do that.’ Given the range and standard of goods on offer along Königsallee, it’s a principle that visitors can apply everywhere in this alluring destination.