Every weekend Antwerp is full of Dutch people who come to shop in the Flemish city. Some of them linger around the Meir, the uniform shopping street full of chains that you find in every city.
Daring of just timeless
A bit of a fashion lover turns his nose up at this and walks on to the fashion quarter, where you will find a daring designers of timeless clothing in the boutiques of both young designers.
In the heart of the fashion district – and a five-minute walk from the Grote Markt – it’s FashionMuseum. The elegant white building, which will also house the future Antwerp fashion academy, has undergone a major renovation in recent years and was able to open its doors again at the beginning of this month.
Fashion responds to society
The permanent collection is a nice introduction to the 35,000 objects that the museum owns. You can see work by well-known black former students of the academy, but also what role the cape or the white shirt played in fashion over the centuries.
Truly spectacular changes on social and political changes.
In other words: what is the impact of changing conditions of economic crises on fashion? What Happened on the Catwalk After the Terror of 9/11? What do you see in fashion about the climate of identity?
Gun, banana and dildo
The answers spread over several rooms, in the form of designs by Versace, Botter, Alexander McQueen and Prada, among others.
There are obvious pieces such as a bright red coat from Comme des Garçons with special pieces for pistol, banana and dildo. But also more subtle details, such as in the work of designer duo Botter, who respond to climate change with water shoes.
Fashion walks are also organized from the ModeMuseum: fashion walks through the city, in which the guide tells in scent and color about the history of Antwerp fashion and shows the most special shops.
The fun anecdotes make fashion really come alive. Stories about Dries van Noten – he likes gardening and that’s why you see a lot of floral prints on his designs – and the rest of Antwerp Six, but also a lot of attention for new talent and what makes Antwerp different from cities like London and Paris.
After the Fashion Walk it is time to dive. You can shop to your heart’s content in and around the Nationalestraat. Bee Ganterie Boon for example, where handmade leather gloves have been sold for generations in the atmospheric art deco shop.
Museum pieces on the racks
from by Labels Inc, where work by various Belgian fashion houses, but also international designers is for sale. Curators of museums also browse the shelves here and it happened more than once that a special piece of clothing was bought in this way and ended up in a museum.
In the shop window is striking work from the graduation collection of a young designer Nadav Perlman. It shows how short the lines are here between the shops and the fashion academy. Fashion is part of the city’s DNA.
The ultimate proof of this is not the balls – fashion balls – that are scattered throughout the city and which you can pose in when you are wearing a ball gown. No, the proof that Antwerp and fashion are intertwined can be found in the church.
As part of festival Mode 2.021 In both the Saint Andrew’s Church and the Cathedral of Our Lady, a statue of Mary has been dressed by a designer.
In the cozy Sint-Andrieskerk, where the pastor has set up a punching bag and fitness equipment for people who need them, it is even difficult to find them, but they really are there: Maria in a dress by Ann de Meulemeester.
In the cathedral, both Mary and baby Jesus are dressed by designer Edouard Vermeulen of fashion house Natan. The green color of the elegant dress symbolizes hoop.
Fashion on the street, fashion in a museum and fashion in church. In Antwerp you cannot ignore it.
For this article, our editor was invited by Flanders Tourism to Antwerp. The content of the article has been determined independently.