Getting to Know the Antwerp Six
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For those of you who are unfamiliar with Belgian geography and European fashion movements, the Antwerp Six sounds like the name of a sci-fi squad right about to launch into space. Despite the members of the infamous crew being planted firmly on earth, their combined talents are out of this world.
The Antwerp Six attributes to a group of six fashion designers who graduated from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, Belgium in the early â80s. After completing their degrees, the group hopped into a rented truck and drove out to London to present their individual collections at a local fashion event. The determination and faith in their talent that pushed these six graduates to make such a move was what ultimately led them to become distinct avant-garde designers and to peg Antwerp as an increasingly notable fashion city.
Here is a quick look at each member of the now infamous group.
Walter Van Beirendonck
Of the many ways one could describe van Beirendonckâs collections, using the word âdiscreetâ would not be one of them. His over-the-top uses of vibrant colours and graphic themes have led him to become known as one of fashionâs most playful and multi-faceted designers out here.
It is clear that Bikkembergsâ mens and womens collections are meant to exude a sense of forbidden desire. A person that dresses in Bikkembergs is not afraid to attract attention from all corners of the room. With open front shirts, short skirts and vibrant colours, his collections are meant to celebrate the flirt within.
Dirk van Saene
Maintaining a lower profile than his fashion comrades, van Saeneâs designs have been recognized for avant-garde eccentricity as well an extremely purist simplicity. Whatâs the secret to his different aesthetics? Well, put simply, it all comes down to his refusal to be complacent. Rather than produce collections of a single trademark style, van Saeneâs designs include everything from solid coloured tailored blouses to hand painted clothing that depict extraordinary scenes of nature.
Much like van Saene, Marina Yee is more attune with staying on the quieter side of the fashion industry. Aside from co-creating a collection of leather pieces with fellow Six-er Dirk Bikkembergs, Yee tends to lean more on the spiritual side of fashion design. By juxtaposing various textures and colours, Yeeâs aesthetic serves to embody a level of harmony between otherwise diametrically opposite worlds.
With a remarkable ability to instill a degree of sensuality into gothic-inspired designs, Ann Demeulemeester has become known for her glamorous grunge aesthetic. With the overlapping use of black and neutral tones, Demeulemeester offers men and women a level of discreet exuberance, if there ever was such a thing.
Dries van Noten
After winning the award for International Designer in 2008, Dries van Noten has continued to prove that he is worthy of claiming such a title. The wonderful thing about van Notenâs collections is that they are each so incredibly distinct from one another. His tendency to be inspired equally by the everyday bustle of urban life and the calm offered by rural escapes has allowed van Noten to transform his vision into wearable works of art. Van Noten also enjoys collaborating with different artists, among whom includes photographer James Reeve.
Visit Cahier dâExercices for a closer look at some of the Antwerp Six designers, as well as other designers such as Marni and Rick Owens.