The Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp hosts one of the world’s best prestigious fashion design courses. Here’s a look at all eight collections produced by this year’s masters graduates, featuring latex, animal prints and dazzle camouflage.
The Antwerp Fashion Department has produced many leading fashion designers, including Martin Margiela, Dries Van Noten and Peter Pilotto.
This year the school showcased eight masters collections, produced by nine students, during a two-day event at Park Spoor Noord from 1 to 2 June 2018.
Highlights included a wardrobe for flamboyant criminals and a series of outfits that recall the shapes and colours of the Australian landscape.
“We will never cease to fight for our tailor-made, boundary-pushing and deep-digging fashion program – a curriculum that requires a one-on-one approach and that has brought forth some of the most reputable and paradigm-shifting designers out there!” said Walter Van Beirendonck, head of the Antwerp Fashion Department.
Here’s a look at all eight collections of 2018:
De Meersman is making a statement about corporate femininity with this latex-ridden outfit, inspired by the clothes her mother wore to work as a banker.
“I remember being in awe that, even within dressing formally, she always found a way of looking very feminine,” she said. “I’m working with a lot of latex, which obviously reads very sexy. But aside from that, I am adding a lot of tailored elements to my looks as a nod to corporate life.”
Kartchev’s collection mixes images from Bulgarian religious advertising, for everything from church services to fortune telling, with a range of other influences, including shop interiors, graphic design and sportswear.
“I’m using Bulgarian orthodox liturgical wear as an inspiration for the shapes and as a general influence, but I mixed it up with sportswear and a lot of other concepts I find aesthetically pleasing,” he said.
Di Leo’s designs are a response to the story of Rita Atria, a young Sicilian girl who killed herself to protect her testimony against the mafia. She made a series of paintings and transformed them into printed textiles.
“It’s my job to use all this heavy inspiration and turn it into something light and digestible” she explained.
These two looks combine traditional clothing from Ethiopian tribes – including a lot of leather skirts with metal rings – with 1920s couture.
“We appreciate the natural roughness of things,” said Schali. “We crafted many metal rings and added other handmade metal hardware, and mixed them with leather, juxtaposing the animalistic and almost brutal against the very sharp and clean.”
“The common factor of all of our inspirations is the timelessness they exude. Things that were revolutionary from the moment they were made and are still holding up a century later,” added Kapchitz.
For this look, Petrovic wanted to create “a wardrobe for the more flamboyant criminals of the 21st century”.
“When I’m designing, I’m not preoccupied with what people want to wear. I want to give them options, or a fantasy,” he said.
Harrison based her collection on the wilderness of Western Australia, where she grew up. It features fabrics shaped to look like plant life, animal prints and knitted flowers.
“For this collection I created a character that embodied my own love affair with nature: she is an Australian, white-trash goddess with a fetish for mother earth,” said Harrison.
Gruca’s collection combines soft shapes with bold prints, which he hopes are reminiscent of the dazzle camouflage used on battleships in the first and second world wars.
“I’m rather shy and quiet and in social situations and I want to disappear most of the time. Instead of looking at that as a negative, it became the initial inspiration for my Master’s collection,” he explained.
“I thought it would be nice to make my models disappear.”
Inspired by his mother, Genni Velotti has created a collection that explores traditional male and female dress, to question whether women can act like men.
“When you look at the overpowering narrative, especially in Italy, it says that women cannot act like men and that there is a big difference between the genders,” he said. “I began to think about the idea of a woman wearing men’s clothing.”