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For their second showroom during Paris Fashion Week, Flanders Fashion Institute and Wallonie-Bruxelles Design/Mode brought together a talented group of Belgian designers, some emerging and some established with their own boutiques and clients. Among these from Flanders were: WOLF. by Sofie Claes, Joanne Vanden Avenne, KIMSTUMPF, Katrien Van Hecke, Madame NONO, and Jo De Visscher. From Wallonia and Brussels were: Céline Pinckers, Filles a Papa, Eric Beauduin, Monsieur Bul, Conni Kaminski, Niyona and The Cookie Therapy.

WOLF. by Sofie Claes proved to be one of the stand-out collections. With a militaristic inspiration, Claes kept utility in mind while designing. A vest easy zips into a backpack – a skirt whips around to be tied in reverse. Claes has an eye for detail, for none were overlooked. Each garment even has its own unique serial number. With simplistic, clean lines and a touch of asymmetry (you never get the feeling of being beaten over the head with all the asymmetrical lines) the Fall 2011 WOLF collection is focused yet sexy.

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Photos courtesy of WOLF. by Sofie Claes

Tea for Two, the fall collection from Jo De Visscher, is as playful as its name. In a splash of berry colors, the palette speaks to its food inspiration. Tea for Two is about meeting, a gentle realm for friends (or lovers) to allign. The lovely button details and the retro styled pin curls on all of her models also gave one the impression that they were all getting ready for a drive in the country after the tea was finished. The impromptu walk/musical chairs of the models enhanced the convivial joy already present in the designs.

Both Conni Kaminski and Eric Beauduin used second hand clothing to create new life and new designs. For Beauduin, his bags were all at one time leather jackets. He stated that he draws inspiration from the clothes themselves, and then reinterprets them into bags – usefulness. His patchworking, weaving and stitching skills are impeccible.

A once industrial designer turned luxury bag designer, the sweet Nina of Niyona leaves no portion of her bag without purpose. Most bags can transform into something else depending on your mood or occasion. Her industrial design background is evident in each and every design, from the LED lights inside each bag, to the functional compartments. Each model has its own name inspired by someone from pop culture. The James bag in particular (you have your own assortment of James to pick from – James Dean or James Bond, anyone?) converts from an on-the-go carry-all day bag to a sleek evening clutch. I also learned a little secret, that James is also the name of the designers son! Perhaps because she is a mother and a designer she understands the many hats one has to wear everyday, but not just hats…bags. Add-on fringe for a more rock look, flip up the sides for a bag you can take to the office, expand it to use as a diaper bag, Niyona has you covered.

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Photos courtesy of Niyona

Fashion week coverage directed by Indira Cesarine for XXXX Magazine
Article and Photos by Amy Tabarly