ANTWERP FASHION ACADEMY #SHOW2017, the report
Last weekend, your dutiful reporter took a seat at the annual colorful graduation show of the Antwerp Royal Academy of Fine Arts’ Fashion Departement with old school pen and notepad in hand. This year, 18 students graduated as Master, which is rare. It’s the largest group of Fashion Masters the school has ever unleashed onto the world, which is why your This is Antwerp reporter has chosen 5 of his personal favorites. Are you ready?
Iuliia Gulina - My Angel Likes It Rough
The Russian born Iuliia had one of those collections that made everybody have an opinion. Wether people loved it, hated it or were shocked by it, at least she made everyone in the room feel something about her work. I absolutely loved it! Bright colors, haunting blue masks, hyperreal gloves, purses seemingly dripping in liquid, goth lolita vibes. Sign me the hell up. Gulina started off her collection being inspired by Dutch artist Marliz Frencken and her controversial glass sculptures. She later added Asian motives and prints, fetish wear, crochet, Chanel inspired tweed and velvet, latex, silicone and skintight leggings with fake press-on nails attached to the toes. With such a diverse list of influences, it’s no wonder “My Angel Likes It Rough” is one of the most original collections at this years show. For some a total freakshow, for others a beautiful surreal dream. Iuliia also added a totally bonkers wedding dress as her collection finale, while the model walked down the runway to Lana Del Rey’s ‘Fucked My Way Up To The Top’, with Del Rey melodramatically purring “this is my show, I’m your favorite girl.” Yes you are Iuliia! This is what couture dreams are made of. Tens across the board on my part.
Eduard Both - Die Natur Der Dinge
Both’s womenswear collection was inspired by Hans “Jean” Arp, the German/French abstract artist, sculptor and painter but also poet. Just like a lot of Arp’s work, this collection combines elements from nature with contemporary elements and a fascination for the art of the object. That fascination is evident in the collection’s shoes alone: beautiful glossy ankle boots with leaf detail and a big golden globe as heel. His graphic prints, tailoring, fur trimmed sleeves and orange lacquer leather corset left a lasting impression. Eduard is without a doubt one of the most promising talents out of this year’s Masters group, with a collection that could’ve easily debuted on any international fashion week catwalk instead of a graduation show. Headhunters take note.
Woojic Jo - Bean’s Tailoring
When you open up your collection with a model who’s wearing a giant turkey on it’s head, you are bound to get people talking. Woojic Wo’s men collection was inspired by Rowan Atkinson’s Mr. Bean character and instantly made people smile as it came down the runway. He presented an exquisitely tailored men’s collection, full of beautiful suits and delicious humor. Besides the suits, Jo added silk scarves and the most talked about shoes of the evening, with most of them having another extra shoe attached to the other. Gorgeous craftsmanship, comical… In conclusion, very British. One to watch for sure.
Lukáš Spilka - Mars
Lukas’ collection was designed “for three female heroes riding a motorcycle to Mars.” And boy did they! Think metallic, NASA-like logo patches and incredible, incredible handwork and a closing silhouette that is, in our humble opinion, reminiscent of late Alexander McQueen’s legacy of making a woman look like a beautiful 7 feet tall alien creature. Spilka played with intricate textures like there’s no tomorrow, combining fur jackets with leather lace-up corset silk dresses, skin tight pants with applique’s and big zippers. The finishing touch on this collection was truly impeccable. A bright future for this outer space designer is clearly already written in the stars. (See what I did here?)
Rushemy Botter - Fish Or Fight
Last but not certainly not least, we HAVE to discuss Rushemy Botter. Botter is not a new name for anyone who has witnessed New York Fashion Week, where his debut for VFILES caught the attention of several high placed stylists, headhunters, buyers and OG supermodel Naomi Campbell. And it doesn’t stop there, rapper Young Thug went viral when he straight-up walked onto the runway in an all-Botter look to fix a models’ garment too. Even talk show host Ellen DeGeneres is a Botter-girl, she jokingly showed a picture of one of his silhouettes to her cheering audience last year. With that kind of international publicity, all eyes were on this master collection for sure. Rushemy describes his collection as an ode to Curaçao and the Caribbean way of dressing up, even if you do not have the financial means to do so per se. This became evident in his accessories, with sporty sneakers attached onto the soles of dress shoes, water guns and blow-up poolside toys. This collection is perhaps the most current out of the bunch, combining logo mania with relaxed fits, graphic prints with insane accessorizing and most importantly, fashion with a whole lotta fun. Take what you have, dress it up (never down!) and wear it with pride. Botter has already set up the perfect start for a long, successful career in fashion. Now where do we cop one of his caps?
Check out more of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Fashion Departement’s Master graduates and First, Second and Third Year Bachelors on antwerp-fashion.be.
Text by Laurent James
Pics by Jasper Léonard, Monica Ho, Niko Caignie and Molly Kwok