Alma mater of fashion’s most revered design collective, the Antwerp Six, Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts is ground zero for emerging avant garde talent, and this year’s graduating classes presented work that more than lived up to what we’ve come to expect from this prestigious fashion program. Some of fashion’s most influential innovators, like Dries Van Noten, Ann Demeulemeester, Raf Simons, and Martin Margiela, spent their defining years here, and the culture of creativity and enrichment that produced these big names continue to turn out extraordinary artists. This year’s MA and BA collections were curated by the current head of the fashion department, Walter Van Beirendonck, who is also a Royal Academy of Fine Arts alumni and member of the Antwerp Six. The judging panel included the Style Bubble’s Suzie Lau and Marie Schuller from SHOWStudio.
If you’ve been reading The Pack for the past month, you know we’ve been covering all of the grad shows from the world’s most renowned fashion programs. The collections from today’s post, however, were clear favourites. You can see all of the runway looks here, but click after the jump for an in-depth look at two collections that completely blew me away.
Ugh, no wonder BadGirlRiri is already a big fan. The aesthetic of this collection is very schoolgirl uniform meets teenage burnout meets streetwear, which means my teacher’s pet adolescent self was definitely not the inspiration for the looks seen here. But that doesn’t mean I can’t indulge in this fantasy of being sort of cool enough to wear this now that I’m pushing 30. Featuring satin jackets decorated with cheeky blue ribbons and sassy slogans, paired with traditional school uniform slacks and basketball-patched mesh dresses, this sporty collection packs a lot of attitude. The accessories—bratty slides worn with white socks, bucket hats, and intricate mesh headbands—are super on-point as well. I’ve been calling this for the past 2 years and I’m very happy to say that my prediction was right: bucket hats are back, y’all.
Never thought I’d go gaga over a collection this colourful. But the Austrian designer’s masterful manipulation of fabrics, textures, proportions, and yes, colours left me with my jaws on the floor. A sense of humour and fun pervades throughout, whether it’s the sporty leather trousers or the mohair rainbow knits, but the refined cut of the jackets and pants as well as the high level of craftsmanship keep the ensembles from looking ridiculous. Yes, this collection also featured socks with sandals. Are you seeing a pattern? Graspointner cites David Hockney and the modernism of the Eames House in L.A. as major influences. I also detect elements of Japanese kawaii subculture, perhaps it’s because of how much those killer white sandals remind me of Getas, or perhaps I dream of dressing every member of Sailor Moon in these kaleidoscopic outfits while they take on the world. Obviously I mean this in the best way because, duh, what woman doesn’t want to feel invincible in her clothes?
Images via Dazed Digital