Royal Academy Antwerp

Royal Academy Antwerp

Putting Together the Antwerp Six: Geert Bruloot

Geert Bruloot does not sit calmly when he speaks. His hands make great gestures when he talks about the Belgian economy, slavery, or the essence of having a philosophy when deciding to make a career out of fashion design. He switches off his phone when it rings with the same enthusiastic energy as with which he chats. It’s present even when he, every once in a while, pours himself a glass of water, sitting in the top-floor offices of the ModeMuseum in Antwerp, which also houses the Flanders Fashion Institute and the Fashion Department of the Royal Academy of Art. Bruloot, who founded the Antwerp-based shoe store Coccodrillo in 1984, has curated the upcoming shoe exhibition Foot Print, The Tracks of Shoes in Fashion which will open at the MoMu on Thursday 3rd of September. Many real-life Pinterest mood boards with printed images attached to each category stand just outside of the room where our conversation takes place. Asked about which categories dominate the exhibition, Geert explains: “As seven months is really a very short for preparing this kind of exhibition, we’ve tried to work with what we could get a hold of. Technically we needed a longer period for chasing loans from the big museums, and conceptually we had to work hard to convince the fashion houses that their past is equally important as the commercial values they are aiming for today. With more time for profound research, we would have gone through the great historical collections of the world, and would have been able to select older historical and indegenousfootwear that has inspired contemporary shoe design.” With impossible-to-walk-on heels scattered throughout, his moodboards don’t necessarily limit themselves to ‘wearability’. Not that that was the focus, anyhow. “Wearability has never been our first reference. From when we started our shoe store 32 years ago, creativity has always been our goal. When emotion, invention, creation, craft and fantasy can go together with technical development, construction and anatomical research, great fashion creations are born! Shoes can have many connotations: religion, fetish, war, survival, seduction, gender, status, dance, rebellion…”

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