Düsseldorf

Düsseldorf: catwalk of Germany.

Düsseldorf becomes the focus of the fashion world when the city reveals the latest in designer fashion and high-street trends. 'The Gallery Düsseldorf' emerged from Igedo (the world's biggest fashion show in its day) and is now a biannual event that attracts international fashion designers and buyers in their droves to the Rhine city.

It's here that the industry decides what's going to be big next season. Düsseldorf is, after all, the fashion capital of Germany. More than 800 showrooms present the latest designer and couture creations, and not just during trade show times. Königsallee, meanwhile, is lined with exclusive boutiques, where it's all too easy to succumb to temptation in the name of fashion. The enticing names of Marco Polo, Hugo Boss, Strellson and Calvin Klein are in good company alongside Armani, Bulgari, Gucci, Jil Sander, Prada, Tiffany & Co. and Versace, forming a stronghold of refined taste.

Königsallee is one of only a handful of internationally regarded streets that can justifiably call themselves a boulevard. Known affectionately as 'Kö', this street is the beating heart of the fashion city, a veritable catwalk lined by beautiful old chestnut trees. Here it's about seeing and being seen, and putting your best foot forward. But the Kö is not the only place to get your fill of fashion and shopping; if you have a taste for the finer things in life, you'll love every bit of Düsseldorf. There's Schadowstrasse, for example, or Carlstadt, an idyllic quarter of antique shops, galleries and art dealers. And, of course, the old town, whose laid-back vibe has attracted unconventional fashion boutiques and numerous alternative stores. The old town also has an abundance of pubs, bars and clubs that gives it the nickname of 'the longest bar in the world' and offers ample opportunity to relax and unwind after hitting the shops. Or simply to model your latest purchases.

The city centre's many shopping arcades mean that wet weather needn't stand in the way of a shopping spree. Schadow Arkaden, Sevens, Kö Galerie and stilwerk offer a winning combination of quality and variety, as well as plenty of space. The Kö-Bogen mall is set to open soon and promises to be another jewel in the city's luxury shopping crown. Even if you're looking for something with a smaller price tag, you'll still be spoilt for choice in Düsseldorf. For example, there are the Düsseldorf arcades around Lorettostrasse, or the hip Flingern quarter with its trendy, offbeat offerings. But it would be doing a disservice to Düsseldorf to describe it only as a fashion and shopping mecca. The city has so much more to offer. Culturally minded travellers are particularly well catered for, with events such as the Old Town Autumn attracting tens of thousands of visitors. Düsseldorf also prides itself on its theatres, concert halls, art galleries and places of historical interest, as well as its magnificent parks and gardens. The museums and the acclaimed Düsseldorf Arts Academy add to the city's reputation as a hub of culture, and every four years the international art world turns its attention to Düsseldorf for the Quadriennale with its high-calibre exhibition programme.

Düsseldorf is home to Europe's third-largest Japanese community after London and Paris. The vibrant Japanese quarter is centred around Hotel Nikko on Immermannstrasse, where you can find Japanese supermarkets, bookshops, restaurants and much more besides. And if all that fashion, shopping and culture leaves you feeling worn out, you can head to Burgplatz to unwind in style. One of Germany's most beautiful squares, this is the ultimate weekend and evening hangout for the people of Düsseldorf. So sit back with a glass of altbier, look out to the Rhine and just enjoy the moment. And if you happen to notice that the passers-by are exceptionally well dressed, then you can probably guess where they've done their shopping.

Highlights

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