Monday 30 March 2015

Antwerp and Dries van Noten

I posted about lovely Antwerp last summer (here). Going back there on an utterly miserable, rainy winter's day a couple of weeks ago I wondered if I could sustain my enthusiasm for the city.

This square in the shopping and restaurant area of Graanmarkt that was filled with outdoor diners under leafy trees in the summer was deserted in the rain, but still elegant.

Cafés and bookshops offered warm, friendly interior spaces to dry out

and at Bourla restaurant behind the Toneelhuis lunch fully lived up to Belgium's dizzying reputation for good food.

And then there was fashion: at Momu (Museum of Fashion) the Dries van Noten exhibition has recently relocated from its run in Paris, back to van Noten's hometown.

Leading into the exhibition is a passage way filled with posters - references to music, films and fashion of the 70s and 80s when van Noten emerged as one of the Antwerp Six young designers ...

... a hint that the exhibition beyond is not so much a retrospective as an glimpse into his rich and prolific creative process.

Damien Hirst's butterfly collage, Proust, Cecil Beaton, Rothko, Francis Bacon, Jimi Hendrix, military uniforms, Rajasthan and Bollywood, Cindy Wright's skull art are just some of the elements that inspired his creativity. 

Antwerp March 2015. Yes, still one of my favourite European cities.


  1. Karen, whatever the weather, your artistic eye and photographic talent will always result in beautiful images that make the viewer want to see what you saw.

    I have yet to visit Antwerp in any weather, and my only time in the beautiful country of Belgium was due to a stalled train on its way to Paris. And so, I do still have to set my feet on the soil, or pavement, of Belgium. Thank you for the temptation.

    I know I would love to see the DvN exhibit. His talent is great, and I like his inspirations that you note, too.

    Best wishes to you, Karen. Hoping to see you again, either this year or the next. xo

  2. Lovely Karen, I have never been to Belgium, alas. I absolutely love Dries! I was fortunated enough to be in the fashion office of Sak's 5th Avenue when they bagan showing his collections. Even here in Texas he was very well-received by the smart set and now he is one of the rulers of fashion. What a treat to see the retrospective!! I'm sure many of your friends saw it in Paris. Beautiful, evocative post. xx's

  3. Stunning photography Karen! I feel like I’m already traveling in this place and see the hidden beauty of each place. The interior design of Cafés and bookshops keeps my ideas go wild! Ha. Just beautiful!

    Nancy Ballard


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