The original Antwerp Six—Dirk Bikkembergs, Ann Demeulemeester, Walter Van Beirendonck, Dries Van Noten, Dirk Van Saene and Marina Yee—solidified the city’s status as avant-garde style capital non pareil with their London debut 20 years ago. In the decades since, Antwerp has earned a well-deserved reputation for producing a steady stream of provocative, progressive designers. This season, a new generation of Belgian talent, dubbed Showroom Antwerp, will descend upon New York Fashion Week, courtesy of the Flanders Fashion Institute. Showcasing both burgeoning and established designers over a four-day period, the collective is poised to offer a surfeit of intelligent innovation. Ahead of the generation-defining event, here’s our breakdown of the hottest designers to know:
Marc Philippe Coudeyre: Marc Philippe Coudeyre’s architecturally inspired designs are known for their futuristic femininity and intricate detail. Expect flawlessly proportioned silhouettes and ample embellishment in his aesthetic.
Peter Ceursters: A seasoned retail vet, Peter Ceursters refined his already honed sense of what women want with Fragma, his successful line of elegant, fluid womenswear. A new collection of luxe scarves proved to be an easy outgrowth for the designer’s sensual signature stylings.
Anna Heylen: Anna Heylen is just as well known for her quirky handmade dolls as she is for her colorful knits and use of fluid draping. The boutique owner and curator also boasts an eponymous Antwerp “Maison,” à la fellow countryman Martin Margiela.
Idriz Jossa: Equal parts artist and designer, Idriz Jossa couples sculpture and video projects with t-shirt and outerwear collections. Art meets fashion in Jossa’s most recent installation, featuring couture-clad mannequins (and one skeleton) inspired by Flemish religious traditions.
Stephan Schneider: Stephan Schneider employs a clean, sporty-luxe aesthetic when fashioning his largely monochromatic, eminently wearable collections. Of course, using his own production factories allows Schneider the time to cut and finish individual pieces by hand—in addition to designing each and every fabric himself.
Lenny Leleu: Jeremy Scott’s protégée Lenny Leleu employs a stark white palette and ample cut-outs when fashioning her sexy, idiosyncratic riffs on the traditional maillot. Future plans for the expanding designer include her own swimwear label and a t-shirt line—and we’re gunning for a Scott collaboration.
Anke Loh: Designer-cum-professor Anke Loh has collaborated with textile artists, filmmakers and dancers to create utterly unique high-tech wares (think fabrics that emit and reflect light or change colors). The Hyères Grand Prix winner’s most recent take on commercial dressing featured a series of digital and silk-screened print dresses, fashioned from video stills of past collections.
Showroom Antwerp will run from February 15th – 19th at Flanders House, located in the New York Times building (620 Eighth Avenue, NYC).