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  • Ann Demeulemeester S/S 1982. Photo by Patrick Robyn, courtesy of Bozar.

  • Martin Margiela Hommes S/S 1999. Photo by Ronald Stoops, courtesy of Bozar.

  • Dries Van Noten. Photo courtesy of Bozar.

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The Belgians: An Unexpected Fashion Story

The Bozar Centre for Fine Arts, Belgium’s oldest and largest arts centre, dedicates a major exhibition to the DNA of Belgian fashion and its contribution to the international fashion scene. Titled “The Belgians: An Unexpected Fashion Story”, the exhibition will open on June 5 and will remain on view until September 13, 2015. Featuring more than 100 designs, from the first pioneers like Norine De Schrijver and her legendary Maison Morin of the 20’s to young promises like the KRJST collective, The Belgians intends to tell a comprehensive story of Belgian fashion design, paying tribute to its bold originality and excellent craftsmanship.

The exhibition, which is supervised by Didier Vervaeren, curator and artistic director at MAD Brussels, is divided into thematic rooms. A special section is dedicated to the legendary Antwerp Six group of the 80’s, a bunch of young designers (Walter Van Beirendonck, Dirk Bikkembergs, Marina Yee, Dirk Van Saene, Ann Demeulemeester and Dries Van Noten) that aimed to change Belgian fashion forever and inspire a whole generation of young designers. Another room is dedicated to the contribution of Martin Margiela, the phantom designer that brought Belgian fashion to another level with his highly experimental work that is considered by many as a form of art.

A special room examines the importance of Belgian fashion schools in promoting fashion not only as a means of artistic expression, but also as a career choice. Last, but not least, a major section is dedicated to the relationship between fashion design and other creative disciplines like art or costume design, featuring Dries Van Noten’s designs for Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker and A.F. Vandevorst’s costumes for Flanders’ Royal Ballet. The Belgians, which is held in collaboration with MAD Brussels Mode And Design Center and Antwerp’s Fashion Museum (MOMU), forms part of Brussels’ Summer of Fashion Festival (June 3-6) that includes a variety of events linking fashion with other creative fields, among them a reading by Diane von Furstenberg, a series of fashion documentaries and an exhibition of photos of Vivienne Westwood by Jürgen Teller.