OR: We arrived being major Gaultier fans, and at the end of the year it was all about Martin Margiela. One moment, you’re listening to Madonna, and the next you’re listening to Nirvana.
WV: When we entered the Academy in our late teens, we were completely fashioned up. I think everybody was dressed up. Then all of a sudden grunge and Margiela came.
It was like life changed overnight, music being the catalyst. When the Nirvana album came out, it changed everything. Because at the same time fashion was collapsing, destroying what it was from the 1980s. Back then I was a club kid. I remember partying at the closing night of the club 55 in Kuurne, in West Flanders: there was techno, and then the DJ mixed in Smells Like Teen Spirit and people danced to it. Whereas before, if you had played a rock’n’roll song in the club, you would have seen the dance floor empty in a second.
That was really quite impressive. That music was the last thing that globally took over and changed fashion and street style and introduced a new way of thinking. Fashion and art blurred together. Our generation had to deal with the fact that sex could kill. There wasn’t enough knowledge about AIDS, you were afraid to kiss a boy. From that came creativity as well. You start to party harder, you start to be more creative, because you find yourself in a post-oppressive world.
OR: Club culture in the mid 1980s was something quite important in Flanders. There is actually a documentary that was made last year called The Sound of Belgium. I don’t know if you have heard of it? It’s really strange but when it aired the first time, about six or eight months ago, we were actually in Antwerp watching television. By the time the programme was over, we were in a total flashback, emotional state of mind because that documentary explains so much of what is considered to be the Belgian scene, or the Belgian fashion scene.
At the time, it was the era of very, very dark clubs. A club in Belgium would literally be a pitch black hole, with the most insane, mesmerising, heavy bass, repetitive electronic sounds, later known as ‘New Beat’. You almost felt like you belonged to a certain world.
Willy Vanderperre & Olivier Rizzo in System Magazine Vol. 3