Belgian fashion and art collide

Fashion is an art form. And art certainly has a fashionable sense to it. But what happens when fashion and art collides. Classic French designers have there muses: Ines de la Fressange, Charlotte Rampling, Lulu de la Falaise, Cathérine Deneuve and more recently Charlotte Gainsbourg, Lou Doillon and Marion Cotillard. 

Belgian designers are not really into the whole égérie world. They find inspiration elsewhere: art. We already know that Belgium is a hot pod for art collectors and artists. We have numerous art foundations, the NY Times reported several times about the fact that the art world comes together in Brussels and Belgian artists such as Luc Tuymans and Jan Fabre are being sold for 6 figure-numbers at auction houses. 

Art is not only an inspiration for Belgian designers, it's more than that. Art becomes a part of the collection, the designer becomes an artist himself or the label even gets taken over completely by an artist. The I Love Belgium team sums up how Belgian designers take inspired by to another level.

Dries van Noten at Les Arts Décoratifs

For earlier collections, Dries Van Noten was inspired by sculptor Pol Bury, painters Jef Verheyen and Kazimir Malevich or photographer James Reeve. For his 2014 Spring Summer menswear collection, he went a little bit further. Les Arts Décoratifs in Paris invited Dries Van Noten for a special project, where his world and creative vision are illuminated through an use of his collections and the historical costume archives of Les Art Décoratifs. As a first step in this process, Dries selected 19th Century prints from the Museum’s archives. He replicated them and applied them to collection SS14 menswear collection, presented June 27th 2013 during Paris Fashion Week. The Dries Van Noten exhibition at Les Arts Décoratifs will feature a large number of photos, videos, film excerpts, music references and artworks, all from the designer's collection archives and will run from the 28th of February till the 31st of August 2014.

Raf Simons and Sterling Ruby

Raf Simons has collaborated with a number of artists in his eponymous collection, including Franky Claeys (for his legendary Black Palms collection), Peter Saville (In his 2003 Closer collection) and more recently Brian Calvin in his FW12 collection. But his designs for Jil Sander and Dior have also featured the work of Pablo Picasso (Jil Sander Spring-Summer 2012), René Magritte and Andy Warhol (Dior Fall-Winter 2013 collection). But next week, January 15th, during the presentation of his Fall-Winter 2014 menswear collection, he will give a new meaning to the artist-designer collaboration. The label will not only feature his name but also LA artist Sterling Ruby's name. “For one season, the brand ‘Raf Simons’ will not exist,” he declared."  Sterling Ruby said about the collaboration “We have similar sensibilities that surface when we speak about music and art." The NY Times called Sterling Ruby “one of the most interesting artists to emerge in this century,” so we're really curious about what these two creative geniuses will come up with.

Jean-Paul Lespagnard at Galeries Lafayette

I Love Belgium has followed Jean-Paul Lespagnard since the very beginning of his career. This Liège born, Brussels based designer is Belgium's latest fashion darling. He didn't graduate from a renown fashion school, he studied fashion in evening school in Liège and he paid his bills while go go dancing in clubs and that's what makes him so special. Jean-Paul calls himself a visual artist, not a fashion designer. His collections presentations balance between fashion shows and art performances and they always raise the question "Is this art or fashion"? He has been collaborating with contemporary dance choreographers Meg Stuart, Pierre Droulers or Gilles Jobin and he even took the term body art to another level when he let Belgian artist Wim Delvoye (famous for his tattood pigs) tattoo his arm. His latest venture is his first solo exhibition entitled TILL WE DROP at Galerie des Galeries opening during Paris Fashion Week the 29th of January. Galerie des Galeries is the gallery space of the famous Parisian department store Galeries Lafayette where Jean-Paul's collection is sold.  Jean-Paul invites visitors to explore his creative process. It evokes the exuberance of life at Mexico’s giant Mayan Riviera hotels and expresses the artist’s take on this artificial paradise, a world steeped in euphoria, sin and freedom. Dressed as a bee and using a series of installations, he will takes the visitors down a guided tour of the rituals and customs of impulse tourism, freed from all material contingencies.

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