Young designers invade Brussels with fashion trail

Tue Oct 26, 2010 5:37am EDT
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By Emily Coleman

BRUSSELS (Reuters Life!) - Brussels might not have the couture cachet of London, Paris or Milan, but a small group of avant-garde fashionistas is giving the Belgian capital an underground designer edge.

Using unusual and even surreal spaces such as thrift shops, a bakery, a bicycle repair shop and a former electricity power plant to show their work, the young designers and design students are giving Brussels a fashion buzz.

"In Brussels, what is unique is Brussels itself," said Veronique Heene, the coordinator of Modo Brussels Fashion Designers Trail, a bi-annual fashion and art exhibition.

"It's a small town. It's not a big, big town. It's a mix of culture, really an international city even if it's a small city, and many people are coming from elsewhere."

La Centrale Electrique, the first electricity plant in Brussels, is the starting point of the trail, which leads throughout the city's downtown and the funky Rue Dansaert district, taking in 60 exhibition spaces.

In the vast Centrale Electrique, at the end of a neon-yellow hall, a single mannequin stands decked out in electric-bright yellow neon. In an adjoining room, a crowd of mannequins are dolled up like sea creatures, one like a jellyfish, another a seahorse, still others like cascades of water and fire.

An ensemble near the entrance looks like a sequined dragon. It only uses two colors, green and gold, but the light reflecting off the sequins gives off a rainbow of colors.

Scattered along the route are boutiques and galleries displaying art, photographs, paintings, graphic designs and even studios for DJs to "show" their audio work, making the fashion trail a multimedia design experience.   Continued...

<p>A woman inspects clothes at an exhibition of creations made by students of La Cambre fashion school in Brussels October 23, 2010. REUTERS/Sebastien Pirlet</p>