I was in Antwerp last Saturday for the twice-yearly Contemporary Fashion Days – simply put, this is when Antwerp’s top designers such as Dries Van Noten, Ann Demeulemeester, Haider Ackermann and Stephan Schneider clear their stock from past collections at heavily discounted prices. The stock sales are held for just a few days and at various locations across the city.I love how the Flanders Fashion Institute has organised the stock sales, including creating a fabulous map and a smartphone app to help you navigate the street of Antwerp. How cool!
It was a brilliant blue-sky day, perfect for walking and shopping! Towards the end of the day, the sky was getting rapidly dark as it was taken over by grey clouds accompanied by a drizzle.
After much hesitation, I finally decided on a beautiful ginger brown tote bag from Annelies Timmermans, who by the way is a really sweet and patient lady. As I stepped out of her shop, I spotted an embellished electricity box on Aalmoezenierstraat (Aalmoezenier Street).At first I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me. But no, they weren’t.
I was quite captivated by the intricate lace filigree on this dress. I didn’t examine the image when I was there, but seeing how detailed it is, I’m pretty sure that this is a photo reproduction rather than a hand-drawn artwork.
It was an advertisement for the Mode Museum (MoMu) Collective. According to their website, the museum has a collection of over 25,000 items ranging from clothing and shoes, to accessories and lace, dating back from the 16th century to creations by today’s designers.
Thinking of drawing brought back some suppressed childhood memories: Art class on Saturday.
I was probably around five or six. I hated going to art class. I would cry, beg, negotiate, or do all three, with my mum as she dragged me to the school.
But what I really detested was that feeling of inferiority, for everyone else in my class drew and painted better than I. Or at least, they seemed to have a much easier time while I would just stare at my paper and wonder why I should copy the example that the teacher had shown us.
A typical conversation in my head would go like this: Why is everyone already using their watercolour paints while I’m still trying to figure out how to draw the woodpecker? Why is mine looking out of proportion? Why doesn’t my woodpecker look as vibrant or adorable as his? Why do I have to draw this (damned!) woodpecker in the first place?
I was miserable in art class. And I was a cheerful kid. Imagine that.
My mum used to draw when she was in school and was apparently quite good at it. I don’t know if she was disappointed that I didn’t take after her and had no interest in art.
But I was certainly glad when my sister – who is seven years my junior, took a much keener interest in drawing than I. She would happily totter off to those weekly sessions, leaving me free to sit in front of the television and watch tennis or wrestling with my dad!
P.S. I enrolled myself in a series of sketching classes about 10 years ago. Just to see if I could actually draw decently if I put my mind to it. Turns out I can. But I still rather doodle any given Saturday!