I have to admit that my knowledge of fashion is quite limited, although I find it very intriguing. I’ve seen dresses of Dior & Chanel on the internet and I heard about Dries Van Noten, Walter Van Beirendonck & A.F. Vandevorst, but that’s about it. This summer that is all changing because of Bozar’s Summer of Fashion! In Bozar, I saw the documentary Dior & I and that was the first step for me into the world of fashion. The movie is about the Belgian fashion designer Raf Simons who became the head designer for Dior’s haute couture collection in 2012. It was really inspiring and I would recommend it to anyone. For more info about when and where you can see it, see below. After watching the movie, I decided that it was about time to go see the exposition that I wanted to see from the moment it opened: The Belgians : An Unexpected Fashion Story.
The exposition @ Bozar shows creations of Belgian fashion designers, some paintings, visual artworks & videos. I found it interesting, but it wasn’t after reading the visitors guide on the way back home that I understood what I had just seen. I felt a bit overwhelmed, which is a good sign! In the first two pictures you can see fragments of the Avant-Garde Room. It’s like a huge catwalk with creations of some of the first Belgian fashion designers who had avant-garde ideas. Because of those ideas, they became known in the rest of the world in the 60s. In the 80s the ‘Six of Antwerp’ became famous (Ann Demeulemeester, Marina Yee, Dirk Bikkembergs, Dirk Van Saene, Walter Van Beirendonck & Dries Van Noten), followed by Martin Margiela and later Raf Simons, Tim Van Steenbergen & A.F. Vandevorst. The black costume in this picture is designed by Raf Simons, who is inspired by subcultures and the underground scene.
Here we see a creation of A.F. Vandevorst, recognizable by the kaki green army colors, the red cross & leather design. They (An Vandevorst & Filip Arickx) are inspired by military hospitals & the artist Joseph Beuys.
Diane von Furstenberg was born in Brussels and lives in the USA. She is known from her wrap-dresses with striking prints. On the background we see a painting of her, made by Andy Warhol. There is a strong link between all the Belgian fashion designers & art, as you will read later 😉
This is only a small part of the huge collage on the wall in the exposition room about the Belgian fashion schools. These schools are like laboratories for creativity & experiments with other artistic disciplines. Almost all of the famous Belgian fashion designers studied @ one of the five fashion schools in our country.
A few of the surrealistic creations made by students. On the right we see a creation of Manon Kündig, who graduated in 2012 in Antwerp. The whole outfit covers the body, you don’t even see the face or the hands. She is inspired by Pop Culture.
As I said before, Belgian fashion is very much influenced by art. Here we see the beetles used by Jan Fabre in his sculptures.
Futuristic boots, designed by Raf Simons from his Ruby Sterling collection, Autumn/Winter 2014-2015.
Walter Van Beirendonck, costume designed for the opera Sous Apparence, Paris 2012.
What I will remember from this exhibition is that the Belgian fashion designers are really appreciated in the international world of fashion because of their bold, original & artistic creations. They started as an underdog, but became real influencers. The best part of all this is that they stayed rather modest, focused on their creations in stead of their image. And the future of Belgian fashion is ensured, since lots of creative minds graduate every year from our fashion schools.
Exposition: Until 13/09/2015 @ Bozar
Documentary Dior & I: until 28/07/2015 @ Cinema Aventure, Galerie du Centre, Brussels
Tip: During the national holiday the 21st of July Bozar is open all day for free!