P: Banker
D: Teacher

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Antwerp: Vintage Finds

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 After experiencing the major vintage madness that goes down on Portobello Road, we thought we had seen enough thrifted goods for a while, but then we chanced upon Think Twice just off the Meir (main shopping street). It was around 5:00 pm and since most shops close at 6:00, we thought we'd make it our last stop.

picture taken from Cool Capitals
 Sadly, we didn't get to take pictures of the interiors or facade of the shop because we kind of got excited when we entered. After seeing GBP60++ price tags on most vintage clothes in London, we expected steep prices even though Antwerp probably had the lowest cost of living among all the cities we visited. Surprisingly, the price tags ranged from around 18EU or PHP1080 up. Not too bad if you found something really special and one-of-a-kind, right? 
D: So after giving the store a quick run-through, I picked up a skirt I liked. P went to the cashier and asked how much for me. She responded, "Oh, everything in the store is 3EU (PHP180) today." He rushed back to me and we both kind of went nuts... 180 pesos is even cheaper than some ukay-ukays here in Manila and the clothes in Think Twice weren't cheap cast-offs from China and Hong Kong! I'm talking real leather jackets in pristine condition and fully-lined gowns! That's nuts for 3EU!
P: I wasn't actually supposed to look around so I made a beeline for the comfy vintage leather couch. Then I found out about the real prices and I just had to look. The experience was a lot more pleasant than in the vintage stores locally. The finds were that much nicer too, a lot more potential in the goodies.

 D: Here are my top three favorite finds!

 This 80s prom dress is perfect for channeling vintage Madonna! Love the fabric up top.
I grabbed this before I found out about the discount! The colors and pattern make me smile.
The swirly hem of this maxi skirt makes swishing around much more fun!

 P: I already have a bunch of cardigans but this chunky-knit grandpa number will be more functional in the colder season/excessively air-conditioned places. It was also the pop of blue and green that got me hooked.
I was pretty hesitant to buy this because it's exceedingly large but for 3EU, I don't mind springing for the tailor. It's not what I usually go for and I'm not even sure how to wear it but the details were too cool to pass up. Love the suspender buttons and the inside trim.
The stuff we got from Think Twice felt infinitely more special than what we bought from H&M, Topshop/Topman, etc. It was the thrill of the successful hunt for distinct pieces that aren't made en masse.
This is the last of our Antwerp installment! Blogging about our next stop soon!

Antwerp: Mode Museum

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D: When we were looking up things to see and do in Antwerp, we came across the website of Mode Museum. The first thing I saw on it was this picture of Tilda Swinton in an amazing sculptural dress. That kind of sealed the deal for me. So off we went to look for more interesting sights.
The MoMu lobby is expansive and impressive. Even more impressive was when the museum staff told us that people under the age of 26 got in for only 1 Euro! The museum usually has two exhibitions at a given time, both changing after certain periods. I suppose you could say that in keeping with fashion, they like to change things up. The complex also houses a library and if our context-clue-reading is right, a fashion school.

The larger exhibition was entitled Unravel: Knitwear in Fashion. They wanted to "challenge certain established ideas and show that --far from being old-fashioned and dowdy-- knitting is highly versatile, luxurious..."

The first installation was this large-scale knit element from Bauke Knottnerus, a Rotterdam-based designer.
Read on for a bit of fashion history! :)

"Sportive Knitwear"
(from left to right) Golfing jacket-1920-1930, woolen jersey cycling trousers-1900-1920, ski ensemble-1927, hunting ensemble-1927-1928

I loved this display of vintage "bathing costumes," a far cry from the skimpy bikinis rife today. 
           Woollen bathing suit in jersey with faux double breasted closure-1955, woollen bathing costume in jersey with metal hook and eye fastenings-1951 Can you imagine the hassle that all those hooks and eyes caused??

Woollen bathing costume with wooden buttons-1910 (!), Woollen bikini in jersey with swimming bands by Sonia Rykiel-S/S 1996

"Sculptural Knitwear"
This was one of my favorite installations. It was amazing how they were able to  manipulate threads and fabrics to follow the contours of the design!

Here is the stunning cover dress worn by Ms. Swinton herself. It's comprised of four hand-knit and hand-crocheted dresses, styled by Panos Yiapanis for a photo shoot.

Just look at that detail!
Cotton-knit dress by Bruno Pieters, S/S 2004

"1920s Knitwear"
During this time period, both hand-knit and machine-knit sweaters were the item of choice for women across all social classes. The sweater above was on loan from the Musee de la Mode in Paris. It's by Elsa Schiaparelli.
Woollen sweater front with trompe l'oeil motif, Elsa Schiaparelli, 1927-1928
Love both sweater fronts! I think they're still very wearable even now.
I wanted to pull all five sweaters off all the mannequins! The first two on the left are Petite and Heidi by Dirk Van Saene, A/W 2008-2009. The one in the middle is from the 1920s by Jean Patou.
This one on the left is by Bernard Wilhelm and the one on the right is by Sonia Rykiel.

A shot of the space

"French Knitwear"
Cotton dress in reversed jersey with trompe l'oeil motif and applique ribbon, cotton dungarees in reversed jersey, both by Sonia Rykiel
Dress in wool and artificial fibre with pop-art motif, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac
Silk knit dress, crocheted silk jacket with applique crocheted flowers, Chanel S/S 2010

"Italian Knitwear"
Seamless draped dress in cashmere, Saverio Palatella
This dress was so stunning! I haven't got the first clue when it comes to sewing but I'd say no seams is a pretty impressive feat!

Wolves in a Pack: cashmere sweater and leggings, Krizia, 1986
Hand-knit evening dress in silk organza, Gianfranco Ferre

"Japanese Knitwear"
Silk ensemble with plisse effect by Issey Miyake; Sweater dress in mohair and lurex by Junya Watanabe, Sweater dress in wool and cashmere jersey by Yohji Yamamoto

"Unravel" was the installation that paid homage to Rei Kawakubo's technique of loosening a screw on her knitting machines to create gaping holes in her pieces. This was in the 1980s and until now, we see the same technique being done by Margiela, Raf Simons, Rodarte and by inspired bloggers everywhere. Check out the intricate details on these dresses!
Open knitwork woollen dress by Iben Hoj; Men's sweate in wool, mohair, and leather by Raf Simons; Dress with knitted bands by TAO by Commes des Garcons
Both dresses by Canadian designer, Mark Fast

D: I think that was probably one of the best ways to spend your single Euro in Antwerp! Another reason why I need to move there soon! As you saw from our last post, this little town has it all: food, sights, and fashion! Didn't hurt that it was our cheapest stop in our Euro tour too.

Antwerp: Part 2

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 Esprit cardigan, BKK shirt, Office shoes
Busted out the new shoes for a walking tour of charming, little Antwerp. They're pretty comfortable and perfect for a stroll around town. These are about as far as I'll go towards wearing a true "mandal." I guess they're a cross-breed between a huarache and a lace-up. Love that they look worn in without me having to break 'em in.

F21 jacket, Kids of Bayo skirt, Saltwater sandals
D: This skirt is possibly from waaay back. You can't really see it but there's a cute beach print on the front. I think I even posted it on Chictopia when I was still an active member. In other news, these Saltwater sandals have been holding up pretty well. They remind me of the shoes I used to wear when I was five. I love how sturdy they are! I got them wet at the beach in Nice and they were just fine. Great and affordable purchase!

Doesn't the statue in the background remind you of a character from Hercules?

On the first day in Antwerp, we were both craving for a quick bite and this unassuming food counter was just a hop and a skip away from our place. It was right across a big Leonidas store so we were faced with a dilemma: famed Belgian chocolates or famed Belgian fries? Well, since we have a franchise of Leonidas in Manila, it was the savory snack that won out.

Doesn't this look like something you'd see in the Philippines? It may look familiar but actually, their version of fast food was nothing like we have ever tasted before. They offered everything from their iconic fries to kebabs to horse meat on a stick (no thanks)!

Since we just wanted a light snack, we opted for the fool-proof fries. The lady asked us what sauce we wanted since there were more than a dozen available including curry, onion sauce, pre-mixed ketchup and mayo, and other local things we can't recall. We played it super safe and got ketchup. 
You must be wondering how different could fries+ketchup combo be? Well you gotta trust us when we say these were the best fries we've ever had. Was it the sweet tinge to the sauce or the flavor of the potato? We're not sure. We're sorry we can't adequately describe how something you're supposed to be able to find anywhere was just so different and delicious but you must try it.

Of course, we had to come back for breakfast the next day. From left to right: the fries with sweet onion sauce, D's chicken kebabs, my paprika pork kebabs.

The face of enjoyment

Walking around the city center, we found a sign for a chocolatier, G. Bastin's, that's been in business since 1908. Now that's a long time to be making chocolate so we trusted them with our families' pasalubong and our snacks.

It was surprisingly difficult to buy chocolate in Belgium because of the sheer amount of choices on display. You can just tell by our array of pictures that there's something for everyone. There's plain milk choc for the Hershey's crowd, fruit creams, liqueur, chocolate covered nuts and orange rind, even some CDs and mobiles (see below).

We also visited Del Rey which is more of a patisserie with its different pastries and desserts.

And for those of you who are sick of all the food photos, here's a snapshot of a lovely little shop we randomly spotted. Antwerp has a ton of cool boutiques like this one!
That's one pimped-out bike!

This is one of the 3 H&M stores on the Meir, the main shopping street/high street. We noticed how even if there's H&M EVERYWHERE, the stocks vary from country to country so you're bound to find something new every time.

D: I noticed that the balance of this blog has shifted more towards culinary coverage,(much to P's delight) so the next post will be fully fashion-oriented. Up next is a post on the Mode in Antwerp!