This is a much needed blog post as I went to Antwerp, Belgium in June. One of my other passions besides fashion is travelling. I love to travel and I rarely use that word. After all that word is so over used in the wrong context but its use here is very much justified. Antwerp for me was a very special trip for me as I went to celebrate my 20th Birthday. I remember the journey quite well as it was the first time I have travelled abroad by Euro Tunnel on a coach rather than by air. To utter the word coach to this day makes my toes wriggle; as waking up at 5 am in the morning to then sit on a coach with no air con for 10 hours is by no means pleasant (My 12 hour flight to Thailand was luxury in comparison and that was flying with Phuket air.) Although it was a novelty to be going underneath the sea. Not to mention No doubts song “Just a girl” (among others) kept me going. “Oh I’ve had it up to here! Oh…”
But those 10 hours were worth it. Antwerp is a beautiful city. The architecture was like art work, each building carefully carved into the landscape. Antwerp is the romantic city forgotten about. The city whisks you away of your feet as its all you expect and more. This was my first trip to a European city which didn’t disappoint, our hotel was in the Diamond District. If you ever go through this district I recommend sunglasses; the effect is dazzling (and I mean literally). Which I think rounds up my point of Antwerp being a romantic city. With no diamond ring hints.
I know the stereotype says that Belgium is the place for Chocolate and I’m sure thats true however I don’t think that applys to Antwerp as during my long weekend I didn’t find one good chocolate shop. I found independent cake shop, bakery’s, Patisseries even a Jewellery shop which sold chocolate. I spent a chunk of my time looking for Fresh Cream Chocolate as a gift for my Mum. And lets just say she was disappointed with the chocolates I had brought from Carrefour. There were chocolate shops though but they were to chocolate shops what Starbucks is to coffee shops. But for lack of Chocolate there were Waffles.
And not just any waffles. Strawberry piled, chocolate sauce covered and sugar dusted Waffles. This waffle is as good as it looks. I’m sorry to tease. I guess you’ll have to go to Antwerp just for this waffle, I would if I could find it again. The waffle how was just down the road from ModeMuseum. If I ever go again I’ll just have to circle this area a few times.
After digging in to my Birthday Waffle I head to ModeMuseum (MoMu) to veiw the “en leven in Mode, Vrouwenkleging 1750-1950” exhibition which to under 25’s is only a euro to view. The exhibition showcased fashion wore by the women of Antwerp. And was intesting to view in terms of detail. When I was there I heard one girl comment how she could see these type of clothes at the V and A. If I knew who she was I would have said “Yes you can see clothes from this period at the V and A but you are failing to look at the details. To see this collection as a collective. The fact that these garments were particular to this area of Belgium. And when have you seen a pregnant corset?” Although I’m sure it has a better name than pregnant corset. (Do you know what its called?)
That evening was the Antwerp Fashion show by the Fashion Department at the Royal Academy of Fine arts Artesis Hogeschool Antwerpen. Which will be a night I’ll always remember and a show that I’ll never forget. I remember as I found my seat the excitement that echoed through the warehouse which was located just up from the MAS. The show was just as electric as the anticipation. The show was not for those who had strict views on what fashion is because this Fashion show pushed boundaries and forgot the rules. Antwerp creates, rather than follows. The images below were taken from the Shows book and is only a tasting of what the show had to offer.
Miguel Bouten collection was a vision of beauty and that’s not word that are usually used to describe menswear.
Antwerp is a place that will whisk your heart away and will always be etched in your brain.