When you think of Italy you think of Pasta and Prada. France? Coco Chanel and crepes. America? Ralph Lauren and hot dogs. But with Belgium, your mind can/t get passedâ€¦ the waffles. Now you can pair them with this bunch of Belgium talents: Dries Van Noten and Maison Martin Margiela.
For years, Dries Van Noten has been the one to watch – but not in the Philip Lim, Vogue’s-flavor-of-the-season, sort of way. Van Noten is seasoned and knows his point of view. He is indeed one to watch, not just now, but always has been. In recent years editors and stylists can’t seem to get enough of his print-heavy pieces. In the case of spring and fall 2008 especially, Van Noten created a display of multi-prints and textures ranging from tribal patterns to painterly strokes of genius. To much acclaim, his collections stood out and created trends while remaining subtle and modest.
While Van Noten is dizzying eyeballs with his edgy, bright motifs, Martin Margiela continues to bewilder with his avant-garde appeal. The mood is darker and unconventional. For spring, Margiela’s blazers cut through the crowd with exaggerated shoulders (think, the lovechild of shoulder pads and razorblades) and paired them with jeans torn and destroyed to their mere existence. As Margiela heads into the mainstream, his fans are marveling at his reckless approach to structure and confidence. Recently having joined the eLuxury.com line up, Margiela created a stark online boutique within the mass (Dior! Pucci!) website, with â€œblack tapeâ€ covering the models’ eyes.
Like the Stella McCartney groupies in 2002 and the Marni-clad Mary-Kates boho-ing around in 2005, Van Noten and Margiela have that cultish sensibility. Van Noten has proven himself as a brand for those who know better, and Margiela’s made avant-garde less guarded and more accessible. Both designers have succeeded in showcasing just what it means to be fashionably Flemish.
(pictured, top to bottom)
Dries Van Noten Spring 2008, Style.com
Dries Van Noten Multi-Print Duccia Dress $1570
Maison Martin Margiela Spring 2008, Style.com
Maison Martin Margiela Runway Printed Tube Dress $795
Victoria Beckham in Maison Martin Margiela, victoriadavidbeckham.blogspot.com