Antwerp: Fashion Capital of Europe

Paris, London, Milan, Rome are most often associated as the fashion capitals of Europe. However, Antwerp with a relatively small population of half a million people is a strong contender and a worthy destination for fashionistas.

One of the driving forces behind the emergence of Antwerp as fashion powerhouse is the Antwerp Royal Academy of Fine Arts. Established in 1963, the fashion program stands in the upper echelons of highly ranked institutions in the world, notably the likes of Central Saint Martins in London and Parsons in New York.  Among the school’s most renowned alumni include the current creative director for Dior – Raf SimonsMartin Margiela and the iconic “Antwerp 6” (Walter van BeirendonckAnn Demeulemeester, Dries van Noten, Dirk Van Saen, Dirk Bikkembergs and Marina Yee).

Also worth checking out is the fashion centric Mode Museum (MoMu). During my visit in the spring of 2014, the headline exhibit was the feather themed “Birds of Paradise”. Several designs on display evoked the final seasons of Alexander McQueen’s runway collection – dark and brooding.

While in Antwerp – don’t forget to indulge in the famous Belgian waffles and chocolates – YUM!

Dries Vane Noten’s Store Front

dries

“Birds of Paradise Exhibit” at MoMu

Architectural contrast of the Old (Cathedral of our Lady) and New (Museum aan de Stroom)

 

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