Friday, January 27, 2012

Emperor's New Clothes – 22 January 2012

Of the many museums we had yet to visit, the one that seemed to get the most recommendations was the MoMu fashion museum and since Antwerp is famous for its fashion we decided that this would be worth a visit. Before that, since this was the first day for which there was no rain forecast, we decided to visit the sculpture park. It is a tram ride and then a 10-minute walk to what is probably a very pleasant destination in the summer. Today it was cold, damp, windy and bleak and the sculptures were thus not displayed to their best. After a fairly perfunctory wander around we headed back to the centre of town where the sun was finally putting in an appearance.

Sunshine and blue skies (between clouds): what could we possibly do but scamper around and get as many photos as possible? Having done the Cathedral and the square we caught a tram back to the harbour area to revisit MAS. The tram took us nearly there and we had to walk a short way to the harbour so set off in what seemed to be the correct direction.
The area looked a little sleazy and the first bar had a mural on the windows showing old men leering at young women; our comment “Nothing if not honest”. Turning the corner we were in the centre of the red-light district and although it was early afternoon the wares were already on display in the windows (or more correctly glass doors) all along the street. We thought we had wandered into Amsterdam except that in Amsterdam you do need to wait until after dark for the show.

After a quick, whistle-stop, photo visit to MAS we returned, like the Wise Men via a different route and caught the tram back to town to finally visit the fashion museum. Curiously, it has no permanent exhibits recalling how the Antwerp 6 broke into the international fashion scene, but instead has two special themed exhibitions per year.
The current main exhibition was works by a local designer which were definitely in the Emperor's New Clothes territory. Maybe, just maybe, it was not aimed at our demographic; it was not money well spent. There was a small side exhibition of clothes designed by Russian designer Nudie Cohn who, apparently,single-handedly created the whole “Rhinestone cowboy” country and western spangley costumes so loved by Dolly, Johnny, Elvis, Englebert and so forth – all of whom have worn Nudie designs. Not bad for a chap who started our designing G Strings!

There was time for one last nostalgic wander through what will be our last European town square before we wandered back to the station to catch a local train to connect with the Eurostar in Brussels.

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