Graduates of the prestigious Antwerp Academy fashion program, the Capara sisters have worked with Dries Van Noten, Martin Margiela, and Raf Simons, before launching their eponymous line out of Antwerp.
If you find yourself in Antwerp in the coming months, or need a reason to go there, a visit to the “Olivier Theyskens: She Walks in Beauty” exhibit at the ModeMuseum (MoMu) will take you back to the time when fashion with capital “F” was still important, when that fickle enterprise still had sweep and grandeur, before the paralyzing effect of irony and false self-deprecation that accounts for much of fashion’s blandness today had set in. It was a time when couture was made thoroughly modern by the likes of Alexander McQueen, John Galliano, and Martin Margiela, those designers who still bothered to learn the fashion playbook before tearing it to shreds, sometimes literally.
It was with great trepidation that I first walked into the Ann Demeulemeester flagship store in Antwerp in 2001. It was on my first trip to Europe. I was twenty-five, and I was backpacking, reclaiming my American right of passage, about seven years too late, but I had no money before that. It’s safe to say that I was probably the only backpacker this summer to stop over in Antwerp to go shopping for fashion. But it was the highlight of my trip. I stuffed my backpack into a locker at the magnificent Antwerp train station, and made a beeline for Louis, followed by Dries Van Noten, and then a long walk down Nationalstraat to Ann Demeulemeester, saving the best for last. I don’t remember why, but I only bought a belt there, which I still wear. “Just the belt?” the salesperson ask, probably not meaning to embarrass me.
It’s day three of the StyleZeitgeist book week, where we review the Fall books we think worth your attention. The Belgians: An Unexpected Story: In case you missed the Belgian fashion exhibit, “The Belgians: An Unexpected Story,” at the BOZAR in Brussels earlier this year, you still have a chance to experience it through the eponymous catalog published by the German publisher Hatje Cantz ($60).
We would like to present to you the workspace of Daniel Andresen, who designs and produces his knitwear in Antwerp. All knitwear is made in-house, without any outsourcing.
Two weeks ago I got to see the Dries Van Noten: Inspirations exhibit at MoMu, Antwerp’s fashion museum. As the title suggests, the exhibit provides a glimpse into Van Noten’s world, and the influences that feed the wellspring of his creativity.
I have already seen the initial version of the exhibit at the Musee des Arts Decoratifs in Paris. It was received with typical fanfare that the fashion press is all too ready to dispense. But while I liked it overall, I was so exhausted by the two floors of continuous explosion of color and ornament that I was happy to get some fresh Parisian air when I finally got out.