4 posts tagged "Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp"
Back in September VFiles launched the raucous runway rave that is its user-generated fashion show. Last time around, the jam-packed affair afforded four emerging brands (chosen by the online community’s users and a panel of VFiles judges) the chance to present their Spring ’14 collections at New York fashion week. “We believe in the future of fashion,” VFiles founder Julie Anne Quay told us after the inaugural outing. “And the future of fashion is online.”
VFiles’ experiment continues for Fall ’14, and today, Style.com can exclusively reveal the three rising stars who’ve been voted into the sophomore show. First up is Melitta Baumeister. We initially met this German-born, New York-based talent last season when she opened the Parsons MFA runway with an impressive collection of sculptural white silicone looks. She’ll be joined by ASSK, a cerebral, Paris-based streetwear label by Australians Sarah Schofield and Agatha Kowalewski, and Hyein Seo, a South Korean womenswear designer who’s currently pursuing her master’s in fashion at the prestigious Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp. In addition to sending their Fall ’14 collections down the catwalk at Eyebeam Studios, the three lucky winners will be flown to New York pre-fashion week to receive mentoring from famed stylists Carlyne Cerf De Dudzeele and Mel Ottenberg. Check back in on February 5 to view our full coverage of the VFiles fashion show—and if it’s anything like last season’s, we’re in for a wild treat.
The official Haute Couture calendar published by the Chambre Syndicale had listed two Dior shows: one for press and a second for clients. But at 6 p.m. on Monday, a third show took place to accommodate a particularly special group of attendees.
Over the weekend, nearly eighty students from sixteen of the leading fashion schools around the world arrived in Paris for an immersive Dior experience. They visited the maison’s ateliers on Avenue Montaigne, participated in a conference with designers from across LVMH, and attended the Spring 2014 runway show.
“It’s good to see this world from the inside,” said 23-year-old Flora Miranda Seierl, who is in her final year at Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts. “Today we heard from people who went to our schools who actually work at LVMH. You never think of it like this, but it’s real people doing real jobs. And so you realize that it’s not unreachable.”
Following the show, held on the grounds of the Musée Rodin, the group went somewhere usually reserved for VIPs: backstage.
“It’s like waiting for Madonna,” gushed Central Saint Martins fashion knitwear student Matty Bovan, as Dior creative director Raf Simons posed for photos and signed program notes.
“For me, in my position at this moment, it’s wonderful to connect with students and the atelier people who don’t get to see the show,” said the designer moments later.
Simons noted that an experience like this affords students some perspective—namely, to place personal goals ahead of commercial ones. “You shouldn’t think about the system, but just what you really, really believe in. And then in the beginning, you reach out to other people who believe in it, rather than those who are in control,” he said.
Designer Walter Van Beirendonck, who showed his men’s collection in Paris last week and still teaches at Antwerp’s Royal Academy, said the access was invaluable to his students. “It’s a place that you don’t usually enter, and for students to see that and learn about this story and how it all works, it’s very amazing.”
The Antwerp connection was not by coincidence. Back when he was studying industrial design, Simons applied for an internship with Van Beirendonck, who accepted the graduate despite his lack of fashion experience.
But savoir faire is savoir faire, no matter the medium. Just ask Jo Miller, who is studying to be a milliner at the London’s Royal College of Art. “This will completely change how I feel about my own designs. It’s a completely different world and could only enrich my work.”
Or, as her teacher, hat designer Flora McLean, put it, “My students need to learn very specific technologies for how to make shoes and hats and handbags. I think there was more for them than anybody else because it’s both the technology and the dreamy parts.”
That dream, which ends today, extended beyond European institutions: Parsons The New School for Design and Pratt Institute in New York, as well as China Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing and Tokyo’s Bunka Fashion College, were among the invited schools.
When the idea was suggested to Simons that there should be a check-in five years later to see where the students landed, he smiled. “They will probably kick me out,” mused the designer. “But that’s how it should be. That’s the cycle.”
Equal parts raconteur, rabble-rouser, and researcher, Antwerp Six designer Walter Van Beirendonck is no stranger to the power of the modern mash-up. From kink to Kawaii and everything in between, his collections are vacuum-packed with referential points well beyond the vocabulary of typical menswear. Van Beirendonck is interested in a very specific sort of commentary, which can best be described as a blend-up of global auspices with bizarro academia. It should come as no surprise, then, that he was very interested when he received a call from Texas concerning a possible showcase. “Dallas is really very weird…” Van Beirendonck told Style.com. “But there’s so much culture, so many museums, so much going on—I was not expecting this.”
Tomorrow, Van Beirendonck will unveil an eponymous exhibition at the Dallas Contemporary museum, coinciding with the city’s inaugural Arts Week. Spotlighting his Fall 2012 and Spring 2013 collections, the show will illustrate the designer’s fascination with privacy and what isn’t always apparent on-screen. “It’s very difficult to keep a secret anymore,” said Van Beirendonck. “Everything is traveling immediately, all over the world.” Inherent in his lineups are themes of secret society dress codes, image copyright violations, reverse race misappropriation (black models in whiteface), Papua New Guinean voodooism, and more. “I decided to show all of these ideas in a really pure way—with original styling and the actual accessories from the runway,” added the designer.
Once Dallas is wrapped, it’s back to Belgium for the designer. On top of producing his label, Van Beirendonck teaches at Antwerp’s Royal Academy, where he is curating the school’s 350-year retrospective, which is set to open on September 7.
Walter Van Beirendonck will be on view at the Dallas Contemporary museum from April 12 through August 19.
For a country roughly the size of Maryland, Belgium has had an outsize influence on fashion over the past two decades. Dries Van Noten, Veronique Branquinho, Ann Demeulemeester, Olivier Theyskens, and Raf Simons are among the many who hail from there and who studied at the famous Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp. And it appears that Belgium is the fashion gift that keeps on giving: This season, Showroom Antwerp is exporting seven emerging Belgian designers (and their collections) to New York fashion week. Anke Loh, Anna Heylen, Idriz Jossa, Lenny Leleu, Marc-Phillipe Coudeyre, Peter Ceursters, and Stephan Schneider will be taking up residence at Flanders House in midtown today; of these, Schneider is the locally familiar name, selling his clean, detail-driven menswear (pictured) at stores such Project No. 8 and Opening Ceremony. Schneider presents his collections in Paris but says that increasing interest from the U.S. media and retailers compelled him to bring his Fall ’10 wares to New York for a look-see. “This season seemed the right moment for us to join New York fashion week,” he explains.