The Belgians are coming -- to Opening Ceremony

It looks like there will be a bumper crop of Belgians at Opening Ceremony for the next year as the boutique has just announced that Belgium will be its country of focus for the next year.

As the retailer's regular customers know, Opening Ceremony likes to pay homage to the international spirit of its Olympic namesake by showcasing the design talent of a different nation each year alongside its stable of stateside brands.

"Belgian fashion mania is hitting Opening Ceremony," founders Humberto Leon and Carol Lim said in a statement announcing the upcoming year's focus. "It has been especially exciting to put together this yearly focus because we have the icons and the new masters of Belgium fashion, as well as the fresh young talents all in store. It's one of the most comprehensive selections we have ever done."

Who takes home the gold (or at least the lion's share of credit card receipts) in the yearlong USA versus Belgium showdown is anybody's guess, but the Belgians are certainly no slouch in the fashion design arena. (The "Antwerp Six," anyone?)

The list of labels that Leon and Lim will be stocking include well-known names — Dries Van Noten, Raf Simons, Veronique Branquinho and Walter Van Beirendonck among them — as well as some that might not quite as familiar like Alexandra Verschueren, Glenn Martens, Stephan Schneider and Veronique Leroy

Offerings will also include Bernhard Willhelm ready to wear, bags and hats with an archive XCL Dinosaur print; Cedric Charlier knitwear; Christian Wijnants dresses; Stephan Schneider scarves and Chauncey knitwear.

In addition, collections by graduates of Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts (which is marking the 50th anniversary of its fashion department this year) will also be showcased by the retailer, and in September Royal Academy graduate and stylist David Vandewal will create collages inspired by the history of Belgian fashion for in-store installations and window displays at London and U.S. stores (including the West Hollywood boutique locally).


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