Belgium rules the fashion waves

If you have seen people in the streets of Paris with enormous eye bags a week ago, they must be fashion people exhausted of the fashion weeks they have been attending. No, not everyone's last name is Wintour and gets chauffeured around in black cars with tainted windows. Most of the journalists, stylists, bloggers, buyers are random fashionistas walk, bike or take public transport (can you imagine!) to all the different fashion shows and presentations. And the real work still has to start!

If we could say one thing about the last fashion weeks is that Belgium is again ruling the fashion waves whether it was an established Belgian designer spearheading a big international house or a young Belgian wolf trying to make it in these quite difficult times (if we have to be honest). The I Love Belgium team made a list of their favorite Belgians and added, next to our comments, some quotes from important fashion journalists.

 

Dries Van Noten

The Dries Van Noten battleship is like a whole armada. There's no fashion loving person in the world who doesn't know the King of Ethnic (in a modern way of course). His FW13 collection was based on the 30s-40s dance couple Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. We saw feathers and fringed but also tailored trousers and jackets, the contrast between masculinity and feminity.

Dries Van Noten electrified the first full day of the Paris fashion season with a show that was delicate, a touch frivolous — yet profound - Suzy Menkes in The New York Times

It’s part of Van Noten’s particular genius that he can turn elements as potentially frightening as those of a gussied-up, glitzed-out skating outfit into a thing of beauty - WWD.com

 

Ann Demeulemeester

Ann Demeulemeester's FW13 collection was a hit list of Ann Demeulemeester classics that will make her fans feel at home like a kid in a candy store. When asked what her inspiration was, she responded 'me', a bold but true statement.

This particular lineup of clothes was such quintessential Demeulemeester that it was practically a manifesto - Tim Blanks on Style.com

It’s as if by being true to herself, Demeulemeester has created something truly universal - Emily Holt on VOGUE.com

 

A.F. Vandevorst

Just like Dries, the A.F. Vandevorst couple also got their inspiration from the thirties. No dancing stars here but a couturiere turned spy in 1930s Spain and Morocco from the novel The Time in Between by María Dueñas. We love the big paisley print, dark and subtle and the ball gown turned tough with silk trousers and laced booties.

The jackets pointed up the designers' tailoring skills, as did a wrap coat in green and navy paisley cinched by a wide leather belt - Nicole Phelps on Style.com

 

Haider Ackermann

Haider Ackermann shows how a designer can evolve. No he's not a one trick pony doing complicated tailored judo jackets all the time, he's a talented designer with eye for detail and volume. For this Fall his eye fell on a picture by Marilyn Monroe leaving a hospital surrounded by press. He always wants to show a strong woman without making her too butch, call it a soft warrior. We loved his use of prints for this Fall and his way on the shearling jackets makes us longing to have it already in our closets (certainly with the beneath 0°C temperatures we are experiencing the last few days in Belgium).

Women will surely put the power of their wallets behind his shearling flight jackets and his collarless beaver-fur coats. Those were the kind of indulgences that customers will find hard to resist - Nicole Phelps on Style.com

There was a spirit of creative salvage to the khaki jackets, which seemed like army surplus elements, beautifully reconceived with shapely seams to transform them into midcentury couture statements - Hamish Bowles on VOGUE.com

 

Christian Dior by Raf Simons

Raf Simons is on the right place at Dior. Sales of the couture collection went up and we're sure the RTW collection will follow because it was all about what Dior used to be: simple, elegant and feminine. The pop element came in with embroideries of  Andy Warhol's fashion drawings of the late 50s and 60s. Clever elements of recognition, that Dior bag with the golden shoe can be spotted from a mile away.

If there was one clear message he was broadcasting, it was complete control - Tim Blanks on Style.com

Magritte, Simons’s fellow Belgian, would have been proud - Hamish Bowles on VOGUE.com

 

Anthony Vaccarello

What a great communication strategy Anthony: first you make statement collections using super models such as Karlie Kloss and Anja Rubik show off their curves (or angles) so you end up on every cover around the world and than you seduce the bigger public with more wearable pieces. This is exactly what happened with this Vaccarello collection. Great length on those coats and the mesh he created with silver discs created a tough but chic effect on sleeves and cutouts in minis or evening gowns.

Comfortable and sexy at the same time? It's a combination that could really take Vaccarello places - Nicole Phelps on Style.com

Vaccarello's vision is laser-sharp, confident and sexy. Let's hope we see a lot more of his work on Hollywood red carpets soon - Booth More on Latimes.com

 

Christian Wijnants

Christian is hot! Not only did he win the International Woolmark prize two weeks before he showed in Paris (a prize won by the likes of Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent) but he also wow-ed everybody with his FW13 collection. As a knitwear specialist he was on top of his game in a FW-season but he did not only show of his knitwear technique but also his sense of color use.

In an impressive display of technique, the designer proposed a series of layered looks fusing waistcoats with loosely belted wraps that looked fresh and modern, giving the clothes an insouciant air and the designer a round of applause - WWD.com

I loved his hand-shredded chiffon jackets, which were sophisticated, but lightweight, too - Philippe Pourhashemi on ASVOF.com

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