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March 26, 1988 - Image 29

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-03-26

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Walter Van Beirendonck, right,
specializes in wild mixtures of color,
fantasy and humor. Below, his
colorful, handknit sweaters are
complemented by his new line of
funky sunglasses.

dience. Thus, as part of the
competition, all six young
designers of Antwerp traveled
with their collections to Paris,
London, Japan and Germany,
receiving attention from the
media and from backers and
buyers. Fortunately, the ITCB
picked up the tab for these
costly promotional efforts.
Three years is the maximum
number of times one designer
can enter the competition.
Following the third contest, Van
Noten opened his own small
shop, featuring the modest
menswear collection he had
designed for the contest. Much
to his surprise, more than half
of the collection was bought by
women. The following year, he
added some simple skirts to the
classic men's blazers, and got
orders from nine major interna-
tional stores.
"Until now, every season we
have doubled our turnover, so it
is really going very fast," Van
Noten says. This season, his
collection is in 35 stores but
"the problem is that I am at my
limit. I can't finance more pro-
duction. We have had to say
`no' to many stores," including
such prestigious places as
Galleries Lafayette (a major
department store in Paris) and
Saks Fifth Avenue."
Van Noten puts tremendous
energy into creating a detailed
theme for each collection.
Recently, he has taken the idea
one step farther by creating a
matching environment in his
"The atmosphere and story
around the collection changes
every six months," he says. "We

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