For fashion people Antwerp(en) is probably the best known city in Belgium. It is the home of Dries Van Noten and Ann Demeulemeester, who were part of the “Antwerp Six”, a group of influential avant-garde fashion designers who graduated from Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts between 1980-1981. Since their breakthrough in 1988 Belgian design has kept a pivotal place on the fashion circuit and the Academy continued to produce huge talents like Haider Ackerman, Peter Pilotto, Martin Margiela and Chris Van Assche.
With almost 500,000 inhabitants Antwerp is also Belgium’s most cosmopolitan city. It is the diamond capital of the world and provides harbor entry to the rest of Europe. It’s flourishing, clean, bright and bursting with energy and cultural activity. The mix of contemporary and classic architecture weighs nicely against the tree-lined boulevards (they call them “Leien”), manicured parks, sunny squares and the historical docks that flank the entire northern city line.
And so, on a lovely day in August, I took my friend and photographer Jef Jacobs and model Charlotte Fourbert on a vintage exploration of Antwerp. It was hard for me to hand the camera to someone else, but I thought to give the expert eye a try. That is to say, we took turns – I am not completely convinced with the art of delegation…
Our first stop was Jutka & Riska (Nationale Straat 87). Whenever I visit Antwerp this is the first stop I make. The store mixes new and vintage clothes and accessories. You can spend hours in there – so many cute trinkets and funny nick nacks! The displays are colorful and inspiring. At the time of our visit someone had just consigned a bunch of vintage Leonard. And since I am a fan, I decided to make an ode to Leonard.