Belgium may be a relatively small nation, yet, its impact on the international fashion scene has been remarkable. Belgian designers have produced an incredible body of work that has inspired editors, stylists and even some of Godiva's own chef chocolatiers
Rise of the Antwerp Six
The world started to take notice of Belgium's style credentials back in the mid-80s, when a group of exceptionally talented Belgian designers known as the 'Antwerp Six' rose to prominence.
Thanks to the Antwerp Royal Academy of Fine Arts' fashion graduates Ann Demeulemeester, Dries Van Noten and Dirk Bikkembergs, the port city of Antwerp suddenly became home to a storm of interest from the international fashion scene. Back in 1986, the designer team rented a truck and set off for London Fashion Week, joined by Walter van Beirendonck, Dirk Van Saene and Marina Yee where their exciting designs pinned Belgium's avant-garde fashion onto the global fashion map.
Future of Belgian Fashion
Today, the Belgian fashion scene is still very much alive and kicking, with Brussels fast becoming the home of a new generation of fashion talent.
One designer to look out for is 27-year-old Joanne Vanden Avenne, who launched her eponymous label in her native Brussels in 2008 after graduating from the Institut Supérieur des Arts Appliqués in Paris. Influenced by Dries van Noten, her elegant designs combine soft lines and rich textures to create a supremely feminine aesthetic.
“I design for independent women who love fashion and who love beautiful materials — women who love life,” Joanne says proudly.
Another up-and-coming talent, womenswear designer Jean-Paul Lespagnard, has recently opened a showroom in Paris. Sporting his tattoos and a Mohican, he borrows inspiration from popular culture and what he calls “the rough side of Brussels”. From futuristic elegance to bold streetwear looks, we recommend snapping up one of his statement print sweaters, coats or scarves.
At the centre of the 21st century scene is Brussels’ La Cambre visual arts school. Design duo Superpieceofchic both studied here; Barbara Repole in fashion and Sébastien Pescarollo in graphic design. They set up their own studio in 2010, creating prints for industry bigshots like Marc by Marc Jacobs, Hugo Boss, Nike, Converse and Stussy as well as their own label. Describing their aesthetic as the ‘’luxury of fun’’, the brand’s trademarks include fusing silk fabrics with bold patterns.
Fashion Inspired Chocolate
Did you know that fashion is a huge source of inspiration for Godiva’s chef chocolatiers? When dreaming up new chocolate creations, they look to craft something that reflects current trends and collective moods – and will often look to the catwalk for inspiration.
Our Executive Chef Chocolatier Thierry Muret follows catwalk shows closely because they give him a glimpse into future trends — from colours and textures to shape.
“We like to study the lines and cut of the clothes, as well as the textures. If we have been inspired by the softness of a silk dress, for example, we would create a light mousse,” says Thierry. “If a designer is showing an Asian silk, with beautiful and brilliant colours, we would translate that by perhaps adding a little raspberry to a mousse — it just adds a beautiful pop of colour.”