Dries Van Noten SS15

John_Everett_Millais_-_Ophelia_-_Google_Art_ProjectOphelia by John Everett Millais

dries3 dries4 dries5 dries9Godesses loungin’

dries6 dries7 dries8midsummer-1Scene from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Titania and Bottom by Edwin Landseer
Midsummer Eve by Edward Robert Hughesdries2The spectacular finish

1092432 1092453 1092444 1092447 1092446 1092452 1092455Backstage Beauties (via Dazed)

It’s not often I get enamoured with clothes so maximalist in design. But it’s not often I encounter design visionaries as creative and meticulous as Dries Van Noten. To say I was wowed by the designer’s Ophelia-inspired SS15 collection, shown last night in Paris, would probably be the understatement of the season. Each look that floated down the mossy, golden-lit catwalk made me literally gasp out loud, so stunned I was by the brilliant use of colour and masterful layering. Certainly Van Noten has a skilled hand with fabrics, and he applied them here to the semi-precious silks, weightless chiffons, and gilded jacquards. The Antwerp-alum also happens to be an expert in ambiance and showmanship, which is a relief—a collection this rooted in fantasy deserves no less. Citing A Midsummer Night’s Dream as another jumping off point for his collection, Van Noten lined the catwalk with a plush layer of carpet that looks more like a Shakespearian forest floor than your basement rec room. The dim golden light washed everything in muted sunlight, giving the scene a dreamy, late afternoon glow. After all the looks had glided down the runway, the nymphs settled leisurely on the paradise floor, conveniently giving breathless showgoers a much-needed final look.

Images via style.com, Dazed, and Creative Commons

Antwerp’s Future Visionaries

Untitled-1From left to right: Charlotte de Geyter Pittoors, Ksenia Popova, Iuliia Gulina

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.

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Minju Kim

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Korean designer Minju Kim is a graduate of Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts and at only 27 years old, she is already well on her way to becoming a prolific force in the fashion world. Her aesthetic is pure fantasy, taking inspiration from horror manga, twisted fairy tales, and her own beautiful sketchbooks. Her designs feature painstaking experiments with unique materials. In her latest collection she melted and twisted rubber into bows that are hand-stitched onto skirts and mini dresses. Her playfulness with proportions, texture, and colour is elevated by these intricacies. She has already won H&M’s 2013 Design Award and was chosen as a semi-finalist in the LVMH Young Designer Prize competition showing her collection in Paris during the AW2014 shows. She was most recently commissioned to design a frock in homage to Minnie Mouse for Antwerp’s Fashion Museum. Follow Minju Kim’s instagram for a regular stream of the designer’s special brand of visionary escapism.

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LVMH Prize for Young Designers

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Since first announcing their Prize for Young Designers in November of last year, luxury mega conglomerate LVMH has been narrowing down competitors in the highly publicized lead up to their final decision this May 2014. From an original pool of 1,200 applicants, first 30 semifinalists and now 12 finalists have been chosen. The competition pits young under-40 designers who have at least two ready-to-wear collections under their belts against each other for the chance to win the approval of a jury comprised of the Creative Directors of eight of LVHM’s fashion houses and its corporate executives (read: a pretty tough crowd). The winner also gets 300,000 euros and a year of mentorship under the gilded wings of the LVMH empire. The benefits flow both ways, though, as the prize is an undoubtedly philanthropic way for LVMH to discover and lay claim to the best and brightest up-and-coming designer talent. Unlike other fashion prizes, LVMH’s contest was held online and was open to applicants from around the world. After the 30 semifinalists presented their lines to jurists like Raf Simmons and  Nicolas Ghesquière and fashion-minded celebrities like Kanye West during Paris Fashion Week, only 12 finalists remain. With a few of The Pack’s fav designers up for the prize (Hood By Air ; Jacquemus; Simone Rocha) it’s hard to pick sides, but check out our listing and place your bets…

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