Tag Archives: Antwerp

The magic touch of Madame Grès

12 Dec

by Marjan Schrooten//

How about this for a pre-festive treat: ‘Madame Grès – Sulptural Fashion’ at the Antwerp Fashion Museum (MoMu); all you need is a ticket to Antwerp and another one for the exhibition (€8, that’s the price two freddo cappuccinos or a glass of bubbly) and whoops, there it is!
This inspiring exhibition shows the work of the Parisian couturière Madame Grès (1903–1993), who considered herself as much a sculptor as a fashion designer: ‘I would have like to have been a sculptor. Working with stone or fabrics is really rather the same for me.’ She was a real master-draper, draping her designs straight onto the model, without using the scissors or needle too much, which made her the pioneer of seamless clothing. None other than Madame Kelly, Piaff, Dietrich and Kennedy belonged to her privileged circle of clients. The soothing yet sleek interior design of the exhibition, the work of Belgian artist Renato Nicolodi, leaves room for the beautiful creations to breathe and stand out on their own, while discretely communicating with the more recent designs by Madame Grès-inspired fashion artists such as Alber Elbas (Lanvin) Yohji Yamamoto, Haider Ackermann and Jean Paul Gaultier. Silk jersey would have been nowhere without the magical touch of Madame Grès.

Main entrance MoMu Antwerp Nationalestraat

Main entrance MoMu Antwerp Nationalestraat


Previous Exhibitions, little blury

Previous Exhibitions, little blury

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Lanvin (Alber Elbaz) evening dress in Jersey - Cruise Collection 2012

Lanvin (Alber Elbaz) evening dress in Jersey – Cruise Collection 2012

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Day Dresses - The Early Grès Years, 1942-1960

Day Dresses – The Early Grès Years, 1942-1960

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 Lanvin (Alber Elbaz); draped cocktail dress in crepe S/S 2001

Lanvin (Alber Elbaz); draped cocktail dress in crepe S/S 2001

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 AF Vandevorst

AF Vandevorst

Madame Grès

Madame Grès

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This dress is one of her last creations; given to Givenchy to thank him for his support - good example of her search for volume which is similar to the Japanese designers

This dress is one of her last creations; given to Givenchy to thank him for his support – good example of her search for volume which is similar to the Japanese designers

Red Dress: Dress for indoors in silk jersey; Spring 1944 - Example of a 'primitive' drape by Grès. The dress became so famous that Madame Grès recreated it in the 1970's in white, published in Vogue

Red Dress: Dress for indoors in silk jersey; Spring 1944 – Example of a ‘primitive’ drape by Grès. The dress became so famous that Madame Grès recreated it in the 1970’s in white, published in Vogue

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Day Dresses 1970 - unparalleled models in French couture

Day Dresses 1970 – unparalleled models in French couture

My two favourites - perfectly simple and discrete in its perfection

My two favourites – perfectly simple and discrete in its perfection

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Beach Wear 1970's

Beach Wear 1970’s

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The End.

The End.

CREDITS: Text: Marjan// Photography: Marjan//Antwerp Fashion Museum (MoMu)

Coffee Time…in Antwerp

11 Mar

by Marjan Schrooten//

It’s not exactly something you would immediately associate with Antwerp (even though more than 7 million bags of green coffee beans are handled in the Port of Antwerp each year, which makes it largest coffee hub in the world) but I am convinced that it will soon be on the ‘things to do in Antwerp’: have a nice cup of coffee!

And while you’re at it, you might as well go for the best coffee place in town: ’Normo Coffee’. The quaint vintage-style coffee bar is situated in the cosy neighborhood between the historic city centre and the up-and-coming northern part of town, home of the recently opened MAS museum and the restored marina. Even during your shopping till your dropping it’s worth taking a caffeine break here:  in Antwerp, everything is really just a few blocks (well ok, pebbled medieval streets) away.

At Normo Coffee, the coffee is homemade: freshly ground in an eye-catching coffee grinder, the coffee tastes even better than it smells.  Owner Jens Oris is proud of his micro-grinder with cleverly tweaked settings to ensure a perfect grinding and brewing of his product. For him, it’s all about controlling the entire creative process of that perfect cup of coffee.

Having your favourite cup of cappu-, frappu- or moccacino in this trendy, low-budget and laid-back interior is really more like coming home on a Saturday morning after a lazy stroll around town in your favourite tracksuit and sneakers; but at Normo, the quality and choice of coffees is really so much better than just another George Clooney-branded capsule.

Everybody should believe in something.  I believe I’ll have another coffee.  ~Author Unknown

CREDITS: Text: Marjan// Photography: Marjan// Normo Coffee: http://www.normocoffee.com

Stephan Schneider – sophisticated contemporary tradition

1 Aug

by Marjan Schrooten//

Oh the irony! You wouldn’t believe it’s summer here in Antwerp…rainy days and grey skies: So I thought I’d make the best of it and check out the autumn and winter collections around town. First stop: Stephan Schneider, who has set up shop at the heart of the cultural centre of Antwerp,  right next to the fashionable Nationalestraat.

Stephan Schneider (born in Germany in 1969) studied fashion at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in the nineties. His role models were the Antwerp 6 (a group of influential avant-garde fashion designers who graduated from Antwerp‘s Royal Academy of Fine Arts in the eighties: Dirk Bikkembergs, Ann Demeulemeester, Walter VanBeirendonck, Dries van Noten, Dirk Van Saene, Marina Yee), who were gaining international fame in those days. He started his brand straight after graduation, creating, and distributing it independently ever since.  He was offered a booth at the Paris fashion week straight after his final year’s collection show. His collection is sophisticated and relaxed, a continuous design reflecting everyday life and Schneider’s love-hate relationship with the masses. He does not regard his clothes as a status symbol; they should never dominate but merely shine in being ‘extraordinarily ordinary’. He tends to use the same fabrics for his men and women clothes, which gives a slightly stricter and formal look to the female collection, and the male collection rather soft. He calls his design philosophy ‘contemporary tradition’, which is also clear in the
2011 A/W collection:

When asked about the current fashion industry, he points out that it is not about
human or personal aspects anymore in today’s fashion: it’s all about impressing
the media and becoming a symbol in fashion. Be that as it may, Stephan
Schneider’s Antwerp boutique is definitely impressive in its elegant simplicity,
as are the clothes. I’m seriously considering to stock up on the A/W

CREDITS: Text: Marjan// Photography: Stephan Schneider//

The Black

12 Jul

by Dimitria Ioannidou//

Black is unequalled.  It is THE most fascinating colour in the history of fashion.  And to think I am a colour person… Still, no other colour has evoked across the ages such diverse and conflicting connotations, from expressing death and loss to symbolizing wealth, social pre-eminence and even rebellion.  So imagine my delight when one of my favourite museums (the fashion museum in Antwerp) hosted an exhibition on Black!  The whole exhibition unravels like a story and although it was too dark to take a decent picture, I’ll try take you there.

CREDITS: Text: Dimitria// Photography: Dimitria// Exhibition: BLACK. Masters of Black in Fashion & Costume

Your ticket to Antwerp

12 Jul

by Marjan Schrooten//

Having lived in London for several years as a twenty-something singleton embracing the Britannia cool, I have returned to my hometown, Antwerp. With a fresh perspective on European urban living, I have discovered that my city has at least as much to offer as any other metropolis:  shops, bars, restaurants, culture and entertainment,…

In Antwerp, it’s all within walking distance from a quaint historic centre. As I recently gave birth to a little baby girl, this can only serve as an advantage, as there will be lots of urban (Bugaboo) strolling going on from now on! I will keep us up to date about the Antwerp city life: the shops, the arts, daily life and gastronomy, while avoiding any superabundance of chocolates and beer as topics (as tempting as this might be).


Antwerp, an introduction

For those of you who have never heard of Antwerp (and this is no shame), a first introductory blog piece might be in order. It’s a medieval Flemish port town in the north of Belgium, still breathing its past whilst blending it smoothly with the new and trendy: next to a baroque or gothic church you may well find a pop-up store or vintage boutique.

In the business world, Antwerp is most known as the world’s centre for diamond trading (eight out of ten diamonds in the world have passed Antwerp at some point) and for its large port, but it is also a fashion hub: at the Antwerp fashion academy, some of the most internationally acclaimed designers learned the tricks of the trade. About 25 years ago, the ‘Antwerp 6’ (Ann Demeulemeester, Dirk Bikkembergs, Walter Van Beirendonck , Dries Van Noten, Dirk van Saene and Marina Yee) made their way into the fashion world, distinguishing themselves by being quite different from their peers. Today these names need no more introduction, nor do these more recent graduates: Stephan Schneider, Raf Simons, Veronique Branquinho, A.F. vandevorst, Bruno Pieters, Tim Van Steenbergen, Haider Ackerman.  Most of these designers have their own flagship store in Antwerp, making it a great place to shop till you drop… (i.e.: blog posts to follow about these!)

Antwerp may not be largest city in Belgium (that title belongs to the more centrally located Brussels), but its inhabitants sure do treat it like it is, with a great sense of pride in the way their city has evolved over the centuries, and is still changing every day. During an interview about an American remake of a very popular Flemish film, the lead actor – born and bred in Antwerp – was asked whether he was at all intimidated by Hollywood. His reply: ‘Are you kidding me, I’m from Antwerp!’.

Let’s see if I can second that emotion…

CREDITS: Text: Marjan// Photography: Dimitria