Since 1986, Smets has been a household name in the world of fashion and design in Luxembourg.
The family business was created by Carine Smets, who grew up in Belgium and studied biology at the Catholic University of Louvain, working as the assistant of Professor Picard. She later married Thierry Smets, a veterinarian from Antwerp, and they settled in Bereldange, Luxembourg. After caring for her children for a number of years, she decided to go back to work in 1986, opening a children’s clothing boutique in Bereldange called Little Smets. Three years later she opened another boutique for women, and another for women and children in Luxembourg City. It was the beginning of a fashion emporium. As the capital of Europe, Brussels was consciously chosen to put the Smets name in the spotlights.
Carine Smets still heads the group. Her husband, Thierry Smets, left his veterinary practice after seventeen years and is now the group’s financial director. The couple have six children. Daughter Pascaline Smets, who shares her parents’ passion for fashion and art, completed a degree in economics before joining the business. As artistic director, she is responsible for selecting products. She follows fashion developments closely and visits fashion trade shows and catwalk presentations to seek out new fashion talent. Thanks to her infallible intuition and appreciation for aesthetics, she is able to choose the most exclusive pieces from among the countless collections that she sees each season. Another passionate art aficionado, she is on top of current developments in the world of contemporary art. Her ambition is to lead the Smets group into the international arena. What has been the key to success for Smets ? Open minds and a strong sense of fashion, but also a practical attitude and a focus on the future, so that passing fads can be clearly distinguished from long-lasting trends.
The Smets group’s activities center around fashion, design and art, three disciplines that are inextricably intertwined and which continually influence each other.
Fashion collections are chosen with care and dedication, according to each store’s particular shopper profile. Only designers whose image and inspirations are most groundbreaking are considered. The selection is kept wide, so that customers will be spoiled for choice with an amazing choice of international brands. In terms of design, it is mainly the Italian design brands that find their way into the Smets collections. Store interiors are developed with an attention to detail that insures that fashion, design and art combine to form a harmonious entity.
The boutiques shine thanks to their outstanding mix of great design names and RTW brands, but also impress with their selection of accessories, jewelry, shoes and a carefully chosen range of design items for the home.
Brands for women include Alexander Mc Queen, Givenchy, Kenzo, Isabel Marant, Mary katrantzou, Stella McCartney, Christopher Kane, Tom Ford, Christian Louboutin, Gianvito Rossi, Jimmy Choo,….While men will appreciate Balenciaga, Dsquared, Balmain, Pierre Hardy, Saint Laurent,…. Among the wide range of brands for interior design are Kartell, Vitra, Moroso, Hay, Cappellini, Artemide, Ligne Roset, MDF Italia, Carl Hansen and Foscarini.
In addition, Smets has joined forces with Cosmeticary to create a specialist beauty corner. Shoppers will find brands including Bobbi Brown, By Terry, Bumble and Bumble, Khiel’s, Laura Mercier, Radical Skincare, Essie and Dermologica.
Passion for art
The Smets family is passionate about contemporary art. As fervent collectors, they spend much of their free time in art galleries and at international trade shows for contemporary art. As they see it, art, fashion and design are one, and they regularly exhibit their most beautiful works of art in the stores as a way of sharing their passion with their customers. In another partnership, Smets has also chosen to work with François Tajan from the Brussels office of the renowned Parisian auction house Artcurial. Twice annually, Artcurial will present work at Smets before it goes to auction.