Who knew that it would take one road trip to London to bring Belgium into the fashion forefront? Ann Demeulemeester, Dirk Bikkembergs, Dries Van Noten, Marina Yee, and Dirk Van Saene were lead by Walter Van Beirendock, now the head of the fashion department at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, for a 30-year class reunion.
‘'Thirty years — it was a hell of a ride and I don’t regret a minute,'’ Bikkembergs told The New York Times.
The return to their alma mater was spurred by the fashion school’s 50th anniversary as well a chance to participate in viewing the students’ work in the four-year master class. It also offered the chance to reminisce on their time prior to their fateful trip to London in 1986. ‘'I think it was a very exciting moment all together at school,'’ Demeulemeester said. ‘'It was really nice to go back to the old academy, to feel not much had changed.”
While the group has rarely come together throughout the years, the last was to crack a bottle of champagne a millennium charity event, they may come together once again. Kaat Debo, director of Antwerp’s fashion museum, MoMu, plans to stage an exhibition celebrating the school’s milestone anniversary that will open September 8th to coincide with the Royal Academy’s 350th anniversary.
Debo noted that the Antwerp Six provided a magnifying glass for the city, making it a new fashion capital. ‘'When the fashion academy started 50 years ago, all the students were Flemish — but the ‘Antwerp Six’ made it attractive internationally,'’ she explained. ‘'Now there are 27 different nationalities in the 150 students, and it is important to show not only the history of the school but its relevance to the fashion world.'’