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February 13th     10:36 am

I love you but I still have got nothing from you.

October 11th     12:13 pm


Ethnic costume by Walter van Beirendonck, modelled by Dries van Noten, 1979.

Fashion! Antwerp! Academy!: 50 years of Fashion Academy, Lannoo Publishers

Ethnic costume by Walter van Beirendonck, modelled by Dries van Noten, 1979.

Fashion! Antwerp! Academy!: 50 years of Fashion Academy, Lannoo Publishers

October 11th     11:59 am


JAPAN is also important to this story, because of the intellectual and aesthetic influence that it had on the Six as well as it being the country where they grew into a ‘Belgian’ collective. The success of the Golden Spindle 1983 lead to a repeat of the show during a government trade mission in Osaka, 1984, mostly as entertainment for the diplomat’s wives, as the embassy had forgotten to invite the press. At that moment, they were still the Seven of the Golden Spindle 1983 of Antwerp, and it was their first trip together to the Far East, where they had the opportunity to see some of their fashion idols, like Yohji Yamamoto’s shows at Tokyo Fashion Week. The trip to Japan was a real eye-opener; they had a taste of everything and tried to see every shop, every show possible in their spare time. They visited the atelier of Comme des Garçons, an important moment when they experienced a true culture shock, since everything was so different from what they had seen before (only Marina had been to Japan before). Most importantly, the designers they saw in Japan proved that everything was possible, that you could take fashion in any direction you wanted.

The young designers in a taxi during the first trip to Japan, near Osaka, organised by the ITCB in 1984.

Fashion! Antwerp! Academy!: 50 years of Fashion Academy, Lannoo Publishers

JAPAN is also important to this story, because of the intellectual and aesthetic influence that it had on the Six as well as it being the country where they grew into a ‘Belgian’ collective. The success of the Golden Spindle 1983 lead to a repeat of the show during a government trade mission in Osaka, 1984, mostly as entertainment for the diplomat’s wives, as the embassy had forgotten to invite the press. At that moment, they were still the Seven of the Golden Spindle 1983 of Antwerp, and it was their first trip together to the Far East, where they had the opportunity to see some of their fashion idols, like Yohji Yamamoto’s shows at Tokyo Fashion Week. The trip to Japan was a real eye-opener; they had a taste of everything and tried to see every shop, every show possible in their spare time. They visited the atelier of Comme des Garçons, an important moment when they experienced a true culture shock, since everything was so different from what they had seen before (only Marina had been to Japan before). Most importantly, the designers they saw in Japan proved that everything was possible, that you could take fashion in any direction you wanted.

The young designers in a taxi during the first trip to Japan, near Osaka, organised by the ITCB in 1984.

Fashion! Antwerp! Academy!: 50 years of Fashion Academy, Lannoo Publishers

October 11th     11:46 am


Dries Van Noten, Ann Demeulemeester and Walter Van Beirendonck getting ready for Adam Ant concert, ca. 1979.

Fashion! Antwerp! Academy!: 50 years of Fashion Academy, Lannoo Publishers

Dries Van Noten, Ann Demeulemeester and Walter Van Beirendonck getting ready for Adam Ant concert, ca. 1979.

Fashion! Antwerp! Academy!: 50 years of Fashion Academy, Lannoo Publishers

October 11th     11:42 am


Dries Van Noten, Ann Demeulemeester, Dirk Van Saene and Walter Van Beirendonck getting ready for Adam Ant concert, ca. 1979.

Fashion! Antwerp! Academy!: 50 years of Fashion Academy, Lannoo Publishers

Dries Van Noten, Ann Demeulemeester, Dirk Van Saene and Walter Van Beirendonck getting ready for Adam Ant concert, ca. 1979.

Fashion! Antwerp! Academy!: 50 years of Fashion Academy, Lannoo Publishers

September 29th     10:15 am


Demna Gvasalia in collaboration with Walter van Beirendonck for the +1 Magazine created by the class of 2006

Fashion! Antwerp! Academy!: 50 years of Fashion Academy, Lannoo Publishers

Demna Gvasalia in collaboration with Walter van Beirendonck for the +1 Magazine created by the class of 2006

Fashion! Antwerp! Academy!: 50 years of Fashion Academy, Lannoo Publishers

September 2nd     11:18 pm


Stephen Jones
Photography Justine Styling Geraida Kefford Make-up Nicole Jaritz Hair Fernando Torrent Model Saskia Slaaf
In a world where the most people wear on their heads is a pair of headphones, Stephen Jones is someone who has always understood the relevance of the hat. It’s a gift that’s widely appreciated. While Jones has been producing his own collections since 1980, one would be hard-pressed to come up with a designer with whom he hasn’t collaborated at some point in his career. There are the likely suspects such as John Galliano, Thierry Mugler, and the houses of Christian Dior and Givenchy, but also the completely unexpected—Comme des Garçons, say; or Jil Sander or Walter van Beirendonck’s W&LT line. Add to this his work with some of the more iconic pop stars of the last two decades (Madonna, Diana Ross, Grace Jones, Culture Club) and you’re looking at someone who has come a long way since the days when he thought he might never be able to make a living as a milliner. Jones fell into his craft after he graduated from Saint Martins in 1979. It was a time when fashion was more about personal expression than wearing the right labels. Jones himself was deeply into his Ludwig of Bavaria mode as created by Visconti. Jones had first-hand experience of the more experimental end of millinery, making hats for the Blitz nightclub habitués Boy George, Steve Strange, and Spandau Ballet, who also happened to be his roommates at the infamous Warren Street squat in London. (“We’d wake up in the morning,” Jones once said, “and the place would be surrounded by Japanese tourists.”) In 1980, he opened his first shop cum salon in the basement of PX, the boutique where the eccentric hat-wearing denizens of the aforementioned Blitz outfitted themselves. A collection for Jasper Conran in 1981 sent Jones off on one long and rollicking head trip. Before long the 80s (hats for the film Another Country, a one-man show at the New York night club The Palladium, more hats for Boy George) gave way to the 90s (a slew of fashion exhibitions worldwide, still more hats for Boy George). Jones has offered up both the sublime and the saleable  both serious couture quality and a near-surreal sense of humour—from fake zebra trilbies, feathered fedoras, and the fluttery confections that grace the ladies’ heads at Ascot and English weddings to the heady flights of fancy that come out of his numerous collaborations, including tropical palms, a black lace mantilla, and a jaunty pillbox hat made, perversely, from a rattlesnake’s skeleton.

Visionaire’s Fashion 2001: Designers of the New Avant-Garde by Stephen Gan

Stephen Jones

Photography Justine Styling Geraida Kefford Make-up Nicole Jaritz Hair Fernando Torrent Model Saskia Slaaf

In a world where the most people wear on their heads is a pair of headphones, Stephen Jones is someone who has always understood the relevance of the hat. It’s a gift that’s widely appreciated. While Jones has been producing his own collections since 1980, one would be hard-pressed to come up with a designer with whom he hasn’t collaborated at some point in his career. There are the likely suspects such as John Galliano, Thierry Mugler, and the houses of Christian Dior and Givenchy, but also the completely unexpected—Comme des Garçons, say; or Jil Sander or Walter van Beirendonck’s W&LT line. Add to this his work with some of the more iconic pop stars of the last two decades (Madonna, Diana Ross, Grace Jones, Culture Club) and you’re looking at someone who has come a long way since the days when he thought he might never be able to make a living as a milliner. Jones fell into his craft after he graduated from Saint Martins in 1979. It was a time when fashion was more about personal expression than wearing the right labels. Jones himself was deeply into his Ludwig of Bavaria mode as created by Visconti. Jones had first-hand experience of the more experimental end of millinery, making hats for the Blitz nightclub habitués Boy George, Steve Strange, and Spandau Ballet, who also happened to be his roommates at the infamous Warren Street squat in London. (“We’d wake up in the morning,” Jones once said, “and the place would be surrounded by Japanese tourists.”) In 1980, he opened his first shop cum salon in the basement of PX, the boutique where the eccentric hat-wearing denizens of the aforementioned Blitz outfitted themselves. A collection for Jasper Conran in 1981 sent Jones off on one long and rollicking head trip. Before long the 80s (hats for the film Another Country, a one-man show at the New York night club The Palladium, more hats for Boy George) gave way to the 90s (a slew of fashion exhibitions worldwide, still more hats for Boy George). Jones has offered up both the sublime and the saleable  both serious couture quality and a near-surreal sense of humour—from fake zebra trilbies, feathered fedoras, and the fluttery confections that grace the ladies’ heads at Ascot and English weddings to the heady flights of fancy that come out of his numerous collaborations, including tropical palms, a black lace mantilla, and a jaunty pillbox hat made, perversely, from a rattlesnake’s skeleton.

Visionaire’s Fashion 2001: Designers of the New Avant-Garde by Stephen Gan

August 29th     12:23 am


Bernhard Willhelm
Photography Camille Vivier Styling Yasmine Eslami Make-up Tracey Gray/Callisté Hair Maxime/Callisté Model Nicolette/Metropolitan
Bernhard Willhelm first became interested in fashion at the age of eighteen, at a time, he says when fashion was exciting to watch but overrated in terms of its meaning. The young German designer imbues his clothing not with concepts but with his own local history foregoing the highly philosophical for the highly personal. “When you design, you should always bring aspects of where you come from and where you grew up,” Willhelm explains. “It makes it more personal.” Willhelm graduated from Antwerp’s Royal Academy in 1998 and is still based in that city. He has worked with Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood, Walter Van Beirendonck, and Dirk Bikkembergs, all designers he truly admires. When he presented his first Paris runway collection in the spring of 1999, however, it was obvious that the biggest influence on his designs was Bavaria, the area of southern Germany where he grew up. His clothes are inspired by the folk culture of the region. “The area has a mountain, then a valley, then a mountain, then a valley,” he says. “The costumes in each valley are amazing, like they come from outer space—especially the hats.” 

Visionaire’s Fashion 2001: Designers of the New Avant-Garde by Stephen Gan

Bernhard Willhelm

Photography Camille Vivier Styling Yasmine Eslami Make-up Tracey Gray/Callisté Hair Maxime/Callisté Model Nicolette/Metropolitan

Bernhard Willhelm first became interested in fashion at the age of eighteen, at a time, he says when fashion was exciting to watch but overrated in terms of its meaning. The young German designer imbues his clothing not with concepts but with his own local history foregoing the highly philosophical for the highly personal. “When you design, you should always bring aspects of where you come from and where you grew up,” Willhelm explains. “It makes it more personal.” Willhelm graduated from Antwerp’s Royal Academy in 1998 and is still based in that city. He has worked with Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood, Walter Van Beirendonck, and Dirk Bikkembergs, all designers he truly admires. When he presented his first Paris runway collection in the spring of 1999, however, it was obvious that the biggest influence on his designs was Bavaria, the area of southern Germany where he grew up. His clothes are inspired by the folk culture of the region. “The area has a mountain, then a valley, then a mountain, then a valley,” he says. “The costumes in each valley are amazing, like they come from outer space—especially the hats.” 

Visionaire’s Fashion 2001: Designers of the New Avant-Garde by Stephen Gan

August 27th     10:24 am


Walter Van Beirendonck photographed one of his æstheticterrorists® collections of rough-cut graffiti-style T-shirts under an 18th century dress. The t-shirt’s neon graphics were more vibrant and alive than the model’s bleached skin tones that matched the deathly grey of her dress, her scruffily pulled back hair, etiolated arms and depressed expression.
Walter Van Beirendonck, æstheticterrorists®, Spring–Summer 1999. Make-up by Inge Grognard and photographed by Ronald Stoops.

Fashion at the Edge: Spectacle, Modernity and Deathliness by Caroline Evans, Yale University Press

Walter Van Beirendonck photographed one of his æstheticterrorists® collections of rough-cut graffiti-style T-shirts under an 18th century dress. The t-shirt’s neon graphics were more vibrant and alive than the model’s bleached skin tones that matched the deathly grey of her dress, her scruffily pulled back hair, etiolated arms and depressed expression.

Walter Van Beirendonck, æstheticterrorists®, Spring–Summer 1999. Make-up by Inge Grognard and photographed by Ronald Stoops.

Fashion at the Edge: Spectacle, Modernity and Deathliness by Caroline Evans, Yale University Press

August 29th     10:49 am


Style rides the crest of a New WaveThe names that appear on the judges’ panel read like a Who’s Who of the fashion world – from Paris’ perennial bad boy, Jean–Paul Gaultier and rising Belgian stars Dries Van Noten, to top-notch fashion retailers such as Maria Luisa of Italy and Charivari of New York. This eclectic bunch will converge on Antwerp at the end of the month for the graduate fashion awards of the city’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts.
Heralded by buyers and press as the hotbed of European talent, Antwerp is the blueprint for fashion training today. The rise of previously unknown countries like Belgium, Holland, Germany and Austria marks a turning point for the industry. In fashion terms it is known as the North European New Wave and its success amounts to a mix of talent and training. Linda Loppa, fashion director at the Antwerp Academy says: ‘We focus totally on creativity’.
The European, June 4 1993

6+ Antwerp Fashion

Style rides the crest of a New Wave
The names that appear on the judges’ panel read like a Who’s Who of the fashion world – from Paris’ perennial bad boy, Jean–Paul Gaultier and rising Belgian stars Dries Van Noten, to top-notch fashion retailers such as Maria Luisa of Italy and Charivari of New York. This eclectic bunch will converge on Antwerp at the end of the month for the graduate fashion awards of the city’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts.

Heralded by buyers and press as the hotbed of European talent, Antwerp is the blueprint for fashion training today. The rise of previously unknown countries like Belgium, Holland, Germany and Austria marks a turning point for the industry. In fashion terms it is known as the North European New Wave and its success amounts to a mix of talent and training. Linda Loppa, fashion director at the Antwerp Academy says: ‘We focus totally on creativity’.

The European, June 4 1993

6+ Antwerp Fashion

August 22nd     12:03 pm

Fashion’s fresh faces

The label ‘Made in Belgium’ is makiing new waves in the fashion world. Sue Teddern reports that the country’s young designers are emerging in style.

It seems something of a paradox that Antwerp, the city that produced the ample-fleshed females, has now produced a fashion designer whose ideal woman is tall, rangy and assertive.

'She must look confident,' says Dirk Van Saene, described by De Standaard newspaper as ‘the national textile industry’s great hope in hard times’. He continues: ‘She must have character in her face and she must be able to take risks. A woman who can wear what she likes and look good – someone like Fanny Ardant or Charlotte Rampling.’ He sighs. ‘If only Charlotte Rampling would wear my designs…’

We are sitting in the cluttered atelier above his small but well-situated shop within an Antwerp shopping plaza. His colleague, Sabine, irons an endless length of grey poplin, and Sada, an over-friendly English bull terrier, hurls itself affectionately at our ankles.

The two-year-old shop was the first of his big ambitions to be fulfilled. The second was winning last year’s Canette d’Or (Golden Spindle) contest in which seven of the country’s top young designers had been invited by the Belgian textile industry to represent their summer ‘84 collections. In his mid-20s, he is one of a number of new names who are stimulating fresh international interest in the Belgian clothing world. With people like Martin Margiela, Marina Yee, Ann Demeulemeester Dries Van Noten and Brussels’ Sylvie Van Reeth, he is beginning to raise eyebrows in the fashion capitals and the ‘Made in Belgium’ label is being pushed with no false modesty.

Undoubtedly La Canette d’Or did much to strengthen the cause. A show of the seven designers has since been seen as far afield as Japan, and it contains some noteworthy notions. The sources of inspiration for Walter Van Beirendonck for instance, were the works of Miró and Calder. He tried to convert their approach to clothing. And Dirk Bikkembergs presented a ‘boyish’ look based on American-Italian sportswear in which garments could find a reverse purpose. An undershirt could be worn as a coat, a coat as an undershirt.

'Internationally this country does not enjoy the reputation it deserves,' says Van Saene. 'For some reason people don't expect anything to come from Belgium. But when our show was presented in Paris, I think the French were pleasantly surprised. Until recently, fashion came only from Paris. There was a kind of snobbishness but that's beginning to change. My next ambition is to have a shop in Paris.'

He describes his own clothes as unromantic and a little masculine, with a strong silhouette. ‘I don’t use silk or frills. No Princess of Wales touches. Fabrics are mostly heavy cottons and poplins.’ ‘The inspiration for my summer collection came from the First World War uniforms and working clothes. And from the Brownies. I’m always looking for new ideas and I have to keep my eyes open all the time. Woody Allen’s film Zelig, for instance, gave me a lot of inspiration.

'I have learnt, however,that reality is very different to school. The Antwerp Academy of Fine Arts which I attended is one of the best in Europe. BUt as a fashion student, you can do what you like. I couldn't possibly compare my current work with what I made at the academy. That was far more experimental. In the outside world you learn by your mistakes.'

As the textile industry’s ‘big hope’ he doesn’t appear appear to be making too many of those. Is there a lot of pressure on him? ‘I like the sobriquet,’ he replies. ‘It’s good for business, But Belgium is producing new talent every year. Sometimes I feel old. Then I remember that Jean-Paul Gaultier, one of my biggest heroes, is at the peak of his career and he is 31.’

Martin Margiela can recall the very moment he realised the impact fashion would have on his life. ‘I was watching the TV news and there was an item about Rabanne and Courreges. As soon as I saw their designs, I thought: How wonderful, people are doing the sort of things I want to do. Those Courreges boots with the cut-out toes confirmed it. I still feel that same emotion when I see something that is completely new.’

He was only a child then. Now, at 27, he is one of Belgium’s foremost young talent, another graduate of the Antwerp academy, and another participant in La Canette d’Or.

The inspiration for that collection came from a pair of turn-of-the-century surgical spectacles he found in Italy. His designs featured long skirts, draped gilets and wide t-shirts in white, shades of spice, marine blue, grey and black.

He shows one of them, an open-backed overall, like a surgeon’s gown which is currently being modelled by a tailor’s dummy. His studio is filled with books, sketches, piles of photos and magazines, a shoe here, a roll of cloth here, but the debris hints of a great industry and his busy schedule confirms it.

He too has a certain type of woman in mind when he designs: ‘Jane Birkin, Geraldine Chaplin, Diana Vreeland, Loulou de la Falaise… but not them especially. The kind of woman I mean has a certain ease of movement, certain hand gestures, a certain voice… you see her immediately and what she is wearing afterwards. Also,’ he says smiling, ‘I have a thing about women with big noses.’

He stresses the importance of the total look. Not just the clothes but the accessories too. So he has designed elegant shoes with a chunky, yet slender profiled heel, and a superb leather bag that almost flows from the hips when attached to a matching belt. ‘At the academy they placed great emphasis on the total look,’ he explains.

While the school has a great reputation, Margiela feels Antwerp is a good working environment. ‘I can’t explain why. Why is Paris better than Milan? You only have to walk along the streets here to see well-dressed, fashion-minded people. I hope I am aiming at them, the people without too much money. It’s not easy to be successful because of the economic climate but then fashion is at its most creative during times of crisis.’

Selling himself internationally as a Belgian designer isn’t’ always easy either, but like the others Margiela feels a change is coming.

'The Canette d’Or show in France made a lot of difference. The director of the Cotton Institute of Paris was there and liked my designs, and I was chosen to make the collection for their winter ‘86 promotion. That’s what I am working on now.’

Establishing a base in Paris is one of his future plans and he has already lived and worked in that other European fashion capital, Milan. ‘After a well-received collection, you make a bigger impact,’ he says. But the stomach-churning tension which invariably accompanies the conception of new ideas hasn’t left him. In fact he rather enjoys it. ‘I think it’s vital. When you are under that stress and it’s positive, everything you see inspires you. And those moments of inspiration are some of the happiest in my life.’

Sphere, date unknown

(Source: cotonblanc)

May 6th     11:04 am



A.F. Vandervorstphotography ronald stoops

Mode 2001 Landed-Geland, Flanders Fashion Institutecurator walter van beirendonck

A.F. Vandervorst
photography ronald stoops

Mode 2001 Landed-Geland, Flanders Fashion Institute
curator walter van beirendonck

May 5th     11:24 am



TWO WOMEN: REI KAWAKUBOComme des Garçons

Mode 2001 Landed-Geland, Flanders Fashion Institutecurator walter van beirendonck

TWO WOMEN: REI KAWAKUBO
Comme des Garçons

Mode 2001 Landed-Geland, Flanders Fashion Institute
curator walter van beirendonck

May 4th     10:44 am


Jurgi Persoonsphotography ronald stoops make-up inge grognard

Mode 2001 Landed-Geland, Flanders Fashion Institutecurator walter van beirendonck

Jurgi Persoons
photography ronald stoops make-up inge grognard

Mode 2001 Landed-Geland, Flanders Fashion Institute
curator walter van beirendonck

May 4th     10:36 am


TWO WOMEN: REI KAWAKUBOComme des Garçons

Mode 2001 Landed-Geland, Flanders Fashion Institutecurator walter van beirendonck

TWO WOMEN: REI KAWAKUBO
Comme des Garçons

Mode 2001 Landed-Geland, Flanders Fashion Institute
curator walter van beirendonck

s.t.