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The StyleForum Runway & High Fashion Thread - Page 66

post #976 of 1188
If you're serious and really want to know what it's like I can probably find a copy. Is it not available where you are? I've never looked at the printed version. Just the site. I wonder if it's a cheaper version of Encens (thinner, no hard cover, etc). I'll see if I can find one.
post #977 of 1188
No I can order it for €5 or so, I'm just lazy. It kinda looks a bit fanzine-like from what I saw, still intrigued.

Also a plug for my magazine thread that never took off.
post #978 of 1188
gabber fashun

post #979 of 1188
Originally Posted by sipang View Post

Bernhard Willhelm’s Spirit of the Engineer underground show held at the Matsumizaka-Yoyogi Tunnel job site, 40m beneath the earth's surface.

The show was part of the 2005 Tokyo Tunnelix event celebrating the Central Circular Shinjuku Route and the and the 11km-long Yamate tunnel whose purpose is to ease traffic between the three major nodes of Shibuya, Shinjuku and Ikebukuro. The designs were inspired by Japanese construction worker uniforms and modeled by workers from the site.









Bernhard Willhelm

Spring/Summer 2005

post #980 of 1188
Workwear porn

Originally Posted by Pingmag View Post

What is the most important factor when you buy outfits?

Civil engineer: “The number of pockets they have. I usually pick the one with enough space for pens and my cell phone in the jacket.”

Others answered “I care for color and visual effect”, some mentioned “mobility is important” and others simply responded “I don’t care”.
post #981 of 1188
post #982 of 1188
london fashion week mens collections started today
post #983 of 1188
A Rare Reunion for the Antwerp Six
by Suzy Menkes

ANTWERP — They were known as the ‘'Antwerp Six” back in the 1980s, when the idea of Belgian fashion seemed like a contradiction in terms.

Now names like Ann Demeulemeester, Dirk Bikkembergs and Dries Van Noten slip off fashion tongues. And last week, Walter Van Beirendonck, head of the fashion department at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, led a group reunion — 30 years after their own student days — to celebrate their school’s 50th anniversary.

‘'Thirty years — it was a hell of a ride and I don’t regret a minute,'’ said Mr. Bikkembergs, while Dirk Van Saene took a more nostalgic view, saying: ‘'I was never so conscious about it. When you are young, it is different and I regret it now that I didn’t live it 100 percent.'’

The fashion gang, which also included Marina Yee, had loaded its clothes into a truck in 1986 and drove to London, a trip that ended up putting Belgian fashion on the international map of style.

Since then, Ms. Yee remembers only one other occasion when the six got together: To crack a bottle of Champagne at a millennium charity event.

“Lot of memories coming back — but not so much, as we see quite a lot of each other,'’ said Mr. Van Noten, who opened his first tiny store in Antwerp in 1986 and has built his international business from the city. He persuaded Ms. Demeulemeester, who tends to keep to herself in her Le Corbusier house on the edge of the city, to join the group's celebration this time.

Both admitted to a wave of nostalgia as they walked through a Royal Academy room that had served as a show space during their student days.

‘'I think it was a very exciting moment all together at school,'’ said Ms. Demeulemeester. ‘'It was really nice to go back to the old academy, to feel not much had changed.”

The reunion had a purpose: The established designers were part of a jury viewing the work of students in the four-year master class.

The historic city, with its Gothic spires, grand guildhalls and old wharfs, offered students the chance to select personal environments for their runway shows that could vary from the academy’s underground sculpture room to the opera house, or even a flower shop — more opportunity for self expression than was given to students in the academy’s early days.

The result was a stream of dramatic installations, from the fairground circle created by the Japanese designer Minju Kim to an underground forest of tree-like clothing from Jack Davey.

In September, Kaat Debo, director of MoMu, the Antwerp fashion museum, plans to stage an exhibition to celebrate the fashion school’s 50th anniversary. With the title of ‘'Happy Birthday Dear Academie'’ and an opening date of Sept. 8, it will run in tandem with other exhibitions, events and conferences marking 350 years of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, to be held at MAS, Antwerp’s new city museum, and M HKA, the museum of contemporary art.

Ms. Debo is adamant that the ‘'Antwerp Six'’ were a turning point for the school.

‘'When the fashion academy started 50 years ago, all the students were Flemish — but the ‘Antwerp Six’ made it attractive internationally,'’ Ms. Debo said. ‘'Now there are 27 different nationalities in the 150 students, and it is important to show not only the history of the school but its relevance to the fashion world.'’
post #984 of 1188
wow, only 150 students?!? very competitve
post #985 of 1188
here's another post from Garmento that calls into question what Raf is doing with Dior's couture line. I don't much about couture, but it seems a valid point to me. it also raises another question in my mind. there are plenty of designers who don't have a fashion education, and many of these probably come up with the concept of an item but couldn't actually put it together themselves because they don't have the technical background in garment construction. it strikes me as an odd combination, because they dream up these things and then have to rely on other people to actually create the patterns and, well, realize their idea. and if something doesn't fit properly because a proportion is off in one of the pattern pieces, the designer may not even know how to fix it (though hopefully they would learn that over time). that job falls to the person(s) actually making the garment. yet it's the designer who gets the credit. it reminds me of the concept of a ghostwriter. anyway, here's part of Garmento's take on Dior Couture:

"Haute Couture represents the highest echelon of clothes making in the Western tradition. As it has once been explained, haute means “high” or “superior” and couture means “clothes” or sometimes regarded as “sewing,” and so the term simply refers to the best of the craft.
Simons has received praise with this collection for modernizing couture; this has also been said of his last two collections. But what does modern couture mean? Is this referring to modernizing the craft aesthetically or contextually? Certainly Simons has brought a sea change to how couture garments are viewed and what is expected of them visually. The idea that a proper couture dress must be an oversized ball gown has gone out the window, and thankfully so. Simons has embraced minimalism, wardrobe essentials, and clothes that are far more real in their circumstance than a dress that requires two assistants to hoist onto a runway. It speaks back to when couture was a vital industry that actually dressed people for life and not for photo ops and red carpet credits (though Jennifer Lawrence’s unfortunate fall on her way to accept her Oscar award seems to invalidate this appeal). And then again, Lagerfeld at Chanel has always been sure to avoid the traps of pageantry in favor of offering his clients a full and functional wardrobe, which they always seem to buy. And there is of course Adeline Andre who has injected minimalism into couture years before the idea would come to fruition in the ‘90s. Dior’s new modern couture is a refreshing revelation for the house but it is only a personal one.

But then you wonder if Simons is modernizing couture via craft and technique. In an industry based on workmanship this would be an exciting prospect yet it is when considering craft that this collection faces its greatest challenges. Not long after hi-resolution photos of the show hit the internet did a blogger who goes by Mari J do a frank and up close study of the collection. The zoom-in shots of seams, details, and hems are revealing. Highlighted are what appears to be copious amounts of seam pucker, fabric buckling around the body, and on the inside lining of the dress that closed the show, a dressmaker’s chalk line left there for the world to see. This is startling when you consider that couture is prized on the fact that the inside is as beautiful as the outside. Seam pucker is a typical issue in construction and is usually due to the tension of the stitch being greater than the fabric causing the seam, once sewn, to scrunch up. It’s a sure sign of rushed sewing. Many of the finishings Mari J highlights, which we can assume are all done by hand, are inadequate in controlling the fabric and shaping it to the specifications of the design. The fabric is resisting the way it’s been cut and sewn and so it buckles around the body causing the contortions and in many parts, especially in the sleeves, a bad fit. In Mari J’s highlights this can be observed in everything from the hems to the darts to the shoulders seams. In garments that Mari J does not focus on there are just as many issues and what is observed is an overall lack of knowledge of fabrics and garment construction, the two most important skillsets of the couturier. These issues force the question of how valid any of Simons ideas are when they are not being executed with the standards that define the genre he is working in. If haute couture truly is “superior sewing” then what is this collection? And can one truly modernize couture if they are not earnestly designing it?" -
post #986 of 1188
Raf Simons interviewed by Humberto Leon:

Part 1
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Humberto Leon Interviews Raf Simons - Pt. 1
This year, we are celebrating all things Belgian at OC. We cannot wait to share all the amazing designers, established and new, and rich culture that the country has to offer. A personal highlight, for me, is that this year we are welcoming Raf Simons into the OC family. From the very beginning of his eponymous menswear label, in 1995, through to his tenure at Jil Sander (from 2005-2012) and his latest role as creative director at Dior, Raf has become a fashion icon and proponent of outsider culture. His love for youth culture and his rebellious streak resonated with me all the way across the Atlantic in California in the 90s, and his vision is just as radical almost 20 years later.

Over a long lunch at L'Avenue in Paris last month, Raf and I talked about his teenage years, the ground-breaking designers who emerged from the Royal Academy in Antwerp during the 80s (the Antwerp Six), and our shared love for Pulp and The Breeders. As fellow culture and fashion fanatics, we could have talked forever. Look out for more in the second part of our interview, coming next week.

Raf Simons is available at Opening Ceremony stores in New York, Los Angeles, and London, and at OPENING CEREMONY ONLINE.

Humberto Leon: First, I have to tell you that I still have all of my Raf pieces from the beginning. I haven’t thrown anything away since I was sixteen. We have been dying to have you in the store for years and the timing seems so perfect now.
Raf Simons: I am so happy to be in the store. It’s finally a really good moment.

You’ve spoken about growing up in a small town with only one record store. I feel like all of your collections, especially the early ones, use youth codes as a starting point. Growing up, how connected were you to those subcultures?
The weird thing is that I was raised on a street where there were farms and cows and animals, and there was a complete disconnect from culture. Complete. I went to a very Catholic college—we took Latin, Greek, and mathematics—it was the kind of place where, when you reach eighteen, you’re supposed to become a doctor or a lawyer. But I knew very, very early on that this was not what I was interested in.

The area I grew up in, on the outskirts of LA, also had a very suburban feeling. There was no fashion. I made stuff because my mom worked in a factory, and I watched her making clothes while she babysat me. It really informed how I approach clothing. Did your parents influence your interest in design?
My mom was a cleaning lady her whole life, and my dad joined the army when he was really young—every boy in Belgium had to go into the army. Although I have a sublime relationship with my parents, it felt like everything that surrounded me was the opposite of what I was interested in. My dad represented sports and that world, my mom was flowers and garden. And I was completely into television. Television, television, television. MTV and music had a very big impact on me.

The other thing that was happening in Belgium then, which few people know about, was the work of Belgian art curator Jan Hoet. He was behind the careers of people like Joseph Beuys, and he later curated Documenta IX in 1992. But years before that, when I was a teenager, he organized a huge exhibition in Ghent called Chambres d’amis. He asked people who owned private houses in the city to open their homes for the whole summer and display the work of a single artist.

That's so cool. How many houses were there? Like twenty?
Oh no, more. It was a big, big thing. The interesting thing was seeing the works in relation to a domestic environment. It made such a huge impact on me and the whole fashion thing started with that. Then, when I was maybe eighteen, the Belgian scene started. Belgium did not have a strong contemporary movement at that point. There were very few artists. There was nothing happening in fashion until the Antwerp Six came. There was chocolate. Chocolate and diamonds—that was what Antwerp was about. And then, when the Belgians came in, I had already chosen to study industrial design.

What kinds of things were you making at school at that time?
A bicycle for a handicapped child, for example. A crate to carry twenty four bottles ergonomically. An egg holder. But it was during my industrial design education that I became fascinated with the Antwerp Six. I really started looking at fashion, and started to wear and imitate it. I was obsessed with Martin [Margiela] and Helmut [Lang], so I would go to flea markets, and I would basically make my own outfits. I could only afford maybe a pair of socks from the actual stores.

That sounds amazing. I love that you made your own versions of things. Was there a Helmut Lang store in Antwerp at the time?
There was a very famous, enormous, store in Antwerp called Loppa, run by Linda Loppa. Linda used to be the director [at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp]. It was one of the most amazing stores I’ve ever seen.

When did it close?
In the period I was graduating, so that must have been around 1991. Linda had all the major labels: Helmut Lang, Dolce & Gabbana, Romeo Gigli, Jean Paul Gaultier. The store was very inspired by the energy and aesthetics of Gaultier in the 80s. There were these ceiling paintings that were very historical but [the figures] would be wearing Gaultier.

So it was Linda I got in touch with. I had interned with Walter [van Beirendonck] and continued to help him afterwards with his presentations in Paris, doing things with furniture. Linda heard about my work and she said, “I want to meet that guy.” We met, I moved to Antwerp, and she became like a second mother.

Did you ever attend the academy as a fashion student?
The weird thing was that Linda was interested in my furniture. She was trying to get me into galleries and get me represented by furniture studios. But I was so fascinated with fashion at that point that I really wanted her to take me into the Academy as a student. And she refused. She said, “Go away and make clothes and then come back.” And I took it very seriously. Linda had me make a collection, and then she sent me to Milan. It was a very weird experience. Suddenly, I am in Milan with maybe twenty five pieces and about 1,500 euros. I took a job in between, with a gardener. But the first collection was not really made in order to sell. It was just to convince Linda. I was living in Antwerp, meeting kids, and going out a lot. That collection was about the mood of the people around me, and the music.

What was going out in Antwerp like back then? I hear about Antwerp having this really amazing nightlife moment. Does that still scene still exist?
The best moment ever, ever, ever for me was when New Beat hit. I’ve never experienced anything else like that in my life. Imagine three or four thousand kids coming together at a discotheque in the middle of nowhere. Everything you saw was fashion. Whether it was self-made, or second-hand, or high fashion like Gaultier. We had a very specific way of dancing, and a very specific sound. There were a lot of lasers and a lot of drugs. It was sublime.

That sounds pretty cool.
But the problem with New Beat was that it became mainstream. It started to hit the news every weekend on television, and then very quickly it became commercial. So we said that’s enough.

I feel like that’s what happens when all of these underground movements begin: more people find out about them, then this weird commercialization happens and it kills them.
When I started the label it was all over already. New Beat was happening when I was eighteen or nineteen. After that I went to a lot of gigs: early Manics, early Suede, early Smashing Pumpkins, Sonic Youth. And when Kraftwerk was in Belgium I would be there. I’ve seen them twelve times.

I love all of those bands. L7, The Breeders, Pulp...
Yes, voila, Pulp. They were all coming up. There was a club I used to go to all the time in Brussels called Fuse. I saw very, very early people like Aphex Twin. You’d just go to Fuse because every week somebody who you’d never heard of would perform in combination with a big name, and it was a scene. After a couple of years of running my label, there was a very strong community of people surrounding it. During the week we would be in the office, working hard on the collections, but on the weekends we would be in the clubs. Music was what was binding everything together. It was really the start and the end.

Part 2
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Humberto Leon: We were talking about the kinds of music you’re into. What else were you influenced by in the early days of your label?
Raf Simons: There really was no other visual communication besides television and record sleeves at that time. My village did not have trendy magazines like i-D and The Face. But I’d take train trips to Antwerp. You had access to everything there.

I've kept every magazine I've bought since I was a teenager, so I have all of the early i-Ds. And still one of my favorite magazines ever is the issue that you curated. It must have been in around 2001.
I’ve always stayed very connected to i-D. The first people I met in fashion—on the press side—were Terry and Tricia [Jones], and it almost became like a family.

They're legendary.
Yeah. In 1998, near the beginning of my career, they staged a huge exhibition in the stazione in Florence, and I had two boys living in the exhibition space for two months. I put a bunch of clothes in there, a television, and a lot of video games and documentaries. Terry also put every i-D magazine in there. So I got to keep all of these issues from the early period.

You also talk about TV a lot. What kind of TV programs were you into when you were growing up?
When I was a kid, I was obliged to watch the Schlager Festival [laughs], which my mom was obsessed with! Then there was an early evening program called “Top Pop.” It was Dutch but they got everybody on it. It was sublime. Everybody was on it: Debbie Harry would be there in Stephen Sprouse, but when you're young you don't really recognize these moments at the time.

Totally! Over the years though, have you been able to meet a lot of the musicians and bands you love?
I finally met Kim Gordon at the Met Ball this year. The first presentation I ever did—before I started showing—was just a couple of boys that I was filming with Sonic Youth music.

I feel like you're very good at tapping into things. With your Fred Perry and Vans partnerships, for example. They feel like such authentic brands to me, with their own subcultures. After you did the show with white slip-on Vans, I went straight out and bought a pair.
The Fred Perry partnership was quite a natural thing. It’s very easy to make their culture and our culture come together. It’s magic. And now the adidas collaboration is really great too.

I love the footwear from the fall collection.
In fashion we have been seeing so much development in the construction of the sneaker. I was really fascinated by the process. Working with adidas, I feel that the possibilities are enormous.

How big is your studio in Antwerp today?
Very small. We only have six people. And now we are hiring maybe two more because [the label] has been growing so much in the last couple of seasons.

As you've expanded as a brand, has the fact that you don’t come from a super technical fashion background ever affected you?
No, not at all. I think, early on, my attraction to fashion was just the idea of “pop.” As a kid I was completely not into clothes. But when I was teenager I wanted to be a part of the whole New Wave period. The Virgin Prunes, The Cramps, New Order—they were all very big for us as college, so we had black hair [styled with] with sugar water.

I love that look.
We were the New Wave kids at this very Catholic school and we were not even supposed to hang out together in big groups. We were not troublemakers, we just didn’t really relate to the environment we were in. I started going out when I was really young and we would just find each other. We shared the same love for certain bands, we put up posters everywhere, and we had a good time. Lots of us got into the Belgian scene, especially Walter Van Beirendonck, he was big for us at that time.

For me too. Walter was someone I discovered by looking at European magazines. Back when there was no Internet, you could only see things in magazines. I feel really fortunate to have lived in an era in which you had to seek out information, when it was harder to find.
The access that we had to the Belgian fashion designers was really like that. They were around us, so you could feel their presence very strongly when you were in Antwerp. But you would get one glimpse of a Helmut Lang collection on television and then you’d have to wait for six months until you could find it in a store in Brussels or Antwerp.

The last thing I wanted to ask you: is there a reason why you’ve never done womenswear under the Raf Simons label? Because I know a lot of women who wear it!
Originally the intention was not to do menswear only. The intention was just to start making clothes for a young generation that I could relate to. It was more for practical and economic reasons that I had to choose to only do men’s in the beginning—because I was making all the clothes myself. But women have always responded to the clothes after the shows so sometimes we do make a piece in women's sizes. I think lately especially I've been seeing a lot of guys wearing women's clothes and women wearing men's clothes.

Definitely. I think the borders are less defined now. But it's amazing that with Jil Sander and now at Dior, you’ve been able to make that transition.
I like the dynamic between doing Dior and [Raf Simons]. It feels very satisfying and freeing to have this huge historical institution for women on one hand, and then a different kind of freedom with my own line on the other. I go back and forth, back and forth, and it’s very good for the brain. Owning your brand is psychologically very different from being a creative director.

Yeah, that's true.
I will never let my brand go—ever, ever, ever.
post #987 of 1188
Schlager festivals are a good approximation of hell on earth
post #988 of 1188
Stitched: Yegwa Ukpo’s Stranger Fusion of Japanese & African Fashion


* * *

Boris Bidjan Saberi SS14

By Gallery Aesthete / August 20, 2013 / Designer Feature, SS14

I am really enjoying this concept of wearable vest/bag

post #989 of 1188
Great !

(Please xpost BBS in the Vest thread)
post #990 of 1188
Thought this was pretty cool. The interview (in the spoiler) is really good. David worked with Dries on his first women's show and was best friends with Raf. (He's also now the stylist for Siki Im and MM6.)

You can see the collages at the original page:

240 Months of Belgian Fashion: Exclusive Collages by David Vandewal at OCNY

by Alice Newell-Hanson

David Vandewal's collages were just a myth before we called him up for confirmation earlier this year. David is now a freelance consultant and stylist based in New York. But his resumé includes eight years on the design team at Dries Van Noten in the 90s (during which time the designer launched his first womenswear collection), before he left to join his best friend, Raf Simons, to help relaunch his eponymous line in the early 00s. There were rumors that throughout this time David had kept fastidious records of every show, appointment, and shoot on the wall calendars he hung in his kitchen. And that the calendars had become shrines to Belgian fashion.

As it turned out, this was all true; David has been making the calendar collages for himself for years. So with the Royal Academy turning 350 and Opening Ceremony celebrating its year of Belgium, we decided it was the perfect time to invite him to do a special project for OC. Now at our downtown New York shop is an incredible window display by David, as well as a series of framed Belgian-inspired collage pieces (retailing for $2750 at OCNY)––made just for us! Below, read up on David's time in fashion, and get a closer look at his OC-exclusive collages and some of his early calendar works!

INTERVIEW Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Alice Newell-Hanson: I don't know where to begin—there's so much to look at—but could you start by telling us about your first calendar?
David Vandewal: I think 1993 was the year of my first collage. It was right after I graduated from the Royal Academy in Antwerp. In our home, we had this cheap kitchen calendar. My first one, if I'm not mistaken was Pamela Anderson or Christy Turlington.

Very appropriate for the time.
Yeah! I'd mark, you know, my doctor's appointment on it, a Dries Van Noten party, some techno thing. Now, in the laptop age, that sounds really stupid, but that's what you used to do! I was dating Peter Philiips at the time, who I'd met at the Academy, and we were this creative couple living together.

Did Peter add things as well?
He didn't, but I wrote his jobs on there. His first-ever jobs are recorded in the early calendars. And it's mixed in with everything else I picked up on in those years. It was that Björk moment, when everything was very eclectic. So we started collecting things. I worked in India a lot so I began to glue pictures from my travels on there, over Christy and Pamela, and it turned into this extreme [collection]. I did this every year, and at some point I eventually stopped hanging the calendars but I kept on [collaging] them because it was like writing in my agenda. Over the years, the writing gets smaller and goes away and everything gets more abstract until it's just pictures, pictures, pictures. And I still do it today. There's one for 2013.

How do you pick which images go into every month?
It's everything I'm attracted to, I'm obsessed with, or I think is happening that month, and also just pictures of ridiculous fashion. I very much believe in the [power] of music, art, artists, any phenomena––to influence each other. Sometimes I see something and think, "This is going to change the whole fashion industry." I'm like this magpie, obsessed with these things, and then it turns into all this and it starts coming alive, and most of the time it turns into trends and goes far. Early Rihanna pictures, early Ryan Gosling pictures... I could show you Ryan Gosling from 2005. Before people knew who he was, I was already like, "Watch that one!" [Laughs].

What's your collaging process like?
I've never done it to a book, but I have no respect for magazines. The minute I buy a magazine, I already have a picture ripped out. I just treat them as these things of consumption. I have a huge archive of things that I like. I rip out like twenty pages of a magazine and the rest I don't need.

What are your favorite magazines?

Anything from New York magazine, to Vogue, Vanity Fair, and Dazed & Confused. I pull from anywhere, high or low.

It's incredible that you have this really detailed record of your entire career. What were you doing at the time you started your first calendar?
It was 1992 or 1993, and I got picked up from my graduation class by Dries Van Noten, who I think happened to be in the jury and was looking for a team of creative assistants. He was not really that big at that time, and he never worked with creative assistants. But he picked a few kids: me, An from AF Vandervorst, and another girl. We were the first Dries Van Noten creative team. At that moment in time, he started focusing on a women's line because he started with menswear.

Did you work on that first women's collection?
We were all involved in the first women's show. It all started with these famous old-school tea roses that later became fashion history. It was so not the coolest thing to do at that time, English tea roses—so that's what we chose as the print. He wanted to do it as a statement; it was Belgian anti-fashion. The first three seasons were primarily based on old tea roses and those gorgeous prints made by the fanciest printers, all based on these old-school flowers, and it turned into a trend.

Dries' runway shows are always incredible. Can you describe the first womenswear show?
It was at the Hotel George V in Paris and it was kind of Indian-inspired, with Elvis music—"Love Me Tender." There were white Indian pillows on the floor. But it was the 90s so it was grunge and it was Emma Balfour and Sarah Murray in these rose-printed silk dresses and slippers.

I loved working at Dries. We were these few people that helped him out early on—all of the prints and hand-embroidery were all executed by me. So then eight years later, when I left and I looked back, there was this design team of twenty or thirty people, technicians, maybe thirty people, and we'd moved to a huge office. It was a really good feeling.

Still today, from everything I hear, the office still has a very family-like atmosphere.
Absolutely. I have the deepest respect for Dries. I was really pampered there, because he's such a good human being. I learned so much from him—skills, discipline, taste—and I only have amazing things to say about him.

When did you decide to leave?
My best friend at the time, who comes from the same small village as me in Belgium, happened to be Raf Simons. And suddenly he made that men's collection that changed the whole industry, you know that skinny kid, David Bowie suit moment. So I decided that after eight years at Dries—in the year that Raf closed his label for one season and revamped his whole team—that would I leave Dries and restart Raf Simons with him and his muse Robbie Snelders. I went from one extreme of Belgian fashion to the other. I was such a fashion victim and so obsessed with fashion that for me, it was just a cleansing experience. I dropped all the embroidery, all the gorgeousness, and went straight to plastic [Laughs].

Did you take a break in between?
In June I was still prepping the Dries Van Noten men's show, and then in July I started at Raf Simons.

What was your role in the team?
I was the only other team member. We had Robbie, this kid who was Raf's muse, doing the more administrative stuff. Then it was myself, Raf, and an intern. That was it. And we made this big comeback in 2001.

What's your favorite Raf show of all time?
The Virginia Creeper show. It was a very Steven Klein-inspired show about American serial killers and poisonous plants. It was held inside a garden; it looked like a terrarium and then we had these guys in plastic ponchos and stuff walking around. Like these bad serial kilers you meet in the forest, woodchoppers-slash-serial killers from American horror movies. Raf had a big fetish for American culture. One of Raf's favorite movies today is still Jeepers Creepers.

Do you miss being affiliated with one house?
Not at all. I think it's my moment. I was always dedicated, contributing to the people that I worked with and I never had the idea that I want to do this for myself. You know how people dream about their name on the wall and a label, I never had that. I only could really get excited over "I'm going to help Dries make this amazing" or "I'm going to help Raf." I had this kick, and that was the fire I discovered to be my strength. I'm a pretty big fashion victim and I think a designer is another breed. Designers are almost more narrow-minded and in their own bubble. And that's why their work looks so unique. You actually need stylists and people involved to shake them awake.

Belgium in particular has bred so many of that type of person with distinctive vision.

It goes back to the Academy. When I graduated, I was a really good student. They liked me there and I worked really hard. But I have to say I graduated not knowing how a computer works, and never seeing one merchandise list. They're looking for the pure artist. And the dean, and all the teachers there encourage this. That is why I think Belgian fashion stands out so much. Because it can really awaken the devil in you, and what is in you.This is different from other schools where there is a lot of this information given. The pure fashion designer, the pure Galliano, Bernhard Willhelm. I think you can see that.

What was the vibe like at the Academy when you were studying? Was there a scene you were part of?
We were part of this whole big Belgian techno scene––10 Days of Techno in the 90s and all that stuff. My friends were like Willy Vanderperre, Peter Philips, Raf. We'd all hang out and it was all about techno.

But I actually met Raf much earlier because he comes from my village in Belgium. He's five years older than me so he was actually always the grown up; in school he was always with the taller kids, like smoking a cigarette, and I was playing with Legos. I've known him for a long time. But Peter Philips and I met on the first day of school. Like you go to Parsons on the first day and meet these people, and you go to lunch and they become your friends. And there were many more. I keep saying all these glorious names but it was a tight group. And it was a lot of going out––90s sex, drugs, rock 'n' roll. I mean the whole she-bang.
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