Belgian designer Anne van Hauwaert has brought a slice of her hometown to the new Uptown district near University Circle. Her elegant shop, Anne van H. Boutique, is full of handpicked women's garments and funky accessories, with hard-to-find designer labels hailing from Western Europe as well as major U.S. style centers such as LA and New York City.
"I travel once a year to see my family, and at the same time, see what's going on in Europe," says van Hauwaert. "People don't want to wear the same thing as their neighbors, so they come to me to find something different or unique."
She opened her first boutique in the Murray Hill School House building in 1987, selling her own creations while scouring the globe for young, up-and-coming designers. Over the years, she added exclusive, ready-to-wear labels, such as Fred Sabatier and Cop Copine.
In September 2012, van Hauwaert embraced her store's ever-expanding line of offerings with a move to Uptown Plaza. Her modern spot is filled with racks of hard-to-find clothing, shoes and accessories that promise to delight even her most fashion-conscious customers.
Designer Jesse Walker's Realm jewelry features nontraditional materials that take form in sculptural clusters of safety pins, glittery baubles and photograph collages ($35-$200).
Bold, geometric print wrap dresses (think Diane von Furstenberg) from Ingenue London ($165-$225) offer the ease of throwing on a single garment and being out-the-door ready, while a navy and blush TeaNRose studded tunic blouse in the store's oversized display window ($49) delivers an edgy, flirty appeal.
Some of van Hauwaert's clients frequent the boutique for her line of couture jackets, which use fabrics she discovers in her travels. Take the eggplant bolero jacket ($425), for example. While at a French antique show, she found an eye-catching mustard-and-plum-colored tapestry that she used as the collar trim.
"It's a one-of-a-kind item," says van Hauwaert. "Customers know when they come they need to buy it, because when they come back it may be gone."