24. Belgium Style - the Antwerp Six

An innocuous mumu --- or is it?

Another Styleportation! This time we're off to Belgium, which caught the eye of the fashion world in the 1980's with a group of designers the London media termed the Antwerp Six. The Six are: Ann Demeulemeester, Marina Yee, Walter Van Beirendonck, Dirk Bikkembergs, Dirk Van Saene and Dries Van Noten (clockwise from top left).

As badly as some of you (read: me) may want them to belong to some cool secret society together, their only real connection is they all went to the same school and graduated within a year of each other. Design-wise, they're worlds apart.

Of the six, I only knew of Ann Demeulemeester and Dries Van Noten so I decided to do a little researchy-roo to see what I could dig up on the others.

Let's get the bad news out of the way first. Dirk Bikkembergs does sporty-flashy stuff for guys - basically the exact thing Beckham might wear, but I might puke on.

Marina Yee actually sounds like the most avante garde of the bunch, but it is very, very hard to find info on her - her fashion work was sporadic and sparse and she went on to do other things having to do with art and installations and the like. She did design some cool t-shirts for DAA (Designers Against Aids) pictured below:

Pleasantly surprised by Walter VB and Dirk Van Saene, while their styles are decidedly different, both contain ample amounts of humor and whimsy.

Here's Van Bierendonck's latest:

His work has been described as a "crazy circus." It's definitely in-your-face.

By contrast Van Saene is far more subtle. I wasn't sure I liked him till I found the above blue dress. Turns out each of the sleeves has a Makonde face! How cool is that?

Nice! Same thing here: A dress that is very Martha Stewart and boring at first - but the back of the belt says, "It's too early for that dress!" and introduces a little secret only the wearer knows about.

It is hard finding images of Van Saene's stuff! I wish I could see more. While searching, tho, I dug up a lot of other up and coming Belgian designers so stay tuned for part 2 of this post - say, sometime in February. ;)