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Modo Brussels S/S11

The other Belgian fashion city showed, through humorous and improvised art and fashion events, that it isn't all about Antwerp

Belgium is at the heart of contemporary fashion, with the likes of Anne Demeulemeester, Martin Margiela or Dries Van Noten as ambassadors, and one may think Antwerp is the one and only city for fashion in the country, but Brussels just proved that wrong. Modo Brussels, a twenty-year-old institute promoting the city's fashion just got revamped under the art direction of longtime Xavier Delcourt collaborator and former Delvaux creative director, Didier Vervaeren, into an “all in black” local monument -  just as much a must-see as Brussels' Manneken-Pis.

For this year’s edition, Modo, in collaboration with La Cambre Fashion School (where Olivier Theyskens, Natalia Brilli, Laetitia Crahay and many more graduated from), presented local talents through exhibitions, presentations, installations and performances hosted by the boutiques of the Antoine Dansaert neighbourhood. For three days, the city’s shop windows and secret spaces were handed over to creative talents young and old in an artistic free-for-all where models strutted along on improvised catwalks behind the glass windows of furniture stores, or art installations allowing established fashion designers to show a different side to their vision.

From Andrea Crews' quirky cheap customisations showed as a street casted performance to a So Plenty lingerie brothel style window exhibition, from Christophe Coppens' surrealist hats to Natalia Brilli's skeletal still life and Romain Brau's furs and feathers to Jean-Paul Lespagnard's ghillie suits passing by the impressive La Cambre school students exhibition in a former electric factory, Brussels' designers showed how humour, irreverence and quirkiness is part of the creative process of the Brussels fashion school in opposition to Antwerp’s hyper conceptual approach. As politics seems to split the country in two, fashion might be the last bridge showing the two Belgium's complementarity, where creativity meets irreverence.