La Greca Blog
A plain black and white entrance sign. How intriguing could such a simple combination be? But, as soon as this thought crossed my mind, a glimpse of a fairy tale bike painted completely in white, hanging from the second floor window of Jackie-Jane concept store/restaurant in Driehoeksplein Zoute, triggered my first step across the threshold.
And so, I entered a small world of absolute antitheses, of minimal but also flamboyant fashion items and an interesting mix of interior design and sculpting. Designers from all over Belgium allocated in different rooms of the villa composed a small fair - a concept already quite popular to Knokke standards. Yet, Nanouk De Cauwer Boelaert’s concept stood out in its own way.
"I made the choice of which designers to host. Green is actually my favorite color" she explained to me, "but it can be limiting for a store. Black and white provide a great frame and background to project all the products. It helps people see clearly and matches any style." So, it was the perfect idea for such a multi-layered concept store.
To my perception, - even if that was not Nanouk's conscious intention - black and white are relevant to what I experienced in Jackie-Jane.There was nothing in-between: no ash gray, ivory or beige feeling. You either fell in love with a room, or you just had to run off to the next one. Well, I took my time and my fruitful two-hour experience revealed to me the greatest contradiction of all: It had never occurred to me that Barbie could be neighbors with Black Sabbath!
Freya Poppe's poppy girly brand "Tutu Chic" set up a bright showroom on the first floor of the villa. Vivid colors and floral patterned fabrics filled the hanger bars on both sides of the wall. The extra light shed on the clothes through the little side window made them shine. The pink bamboo Emmanuelle armchair, the New England Laura-Ashley-like wallpaper and the golden modern baroque mirror turned the place into a doll house.
The brand's target group is probably younger ladies who can effortlessly support a fresh girly look. However, I wouldn't say no to a specific adorable violet dress made with shiny silk thread in Nathalie Wood style. If only it had been my size...
In a less rosy room, Lieselot Cosijns greeted me with an irresistible smile. Despite my general abhorrence towards any kind of insect, her huge wall painting caught my utmost attention. The artist/ designer had spent hours patiently creating tiny black ants on a white surface that seemingly moved in a formation, which extended to the ceiling.
Amongst others, the cross - her main theme - attributed a rock attitude to her tops and T-shirts. The printed ants, hieroglyphics and portraits of Indians presented as animal spirits made the clothes unconventional, connected to nature and at the same time joyful and trendy.
"The ant started as an easy motif to reproduce by hand. I just made ants everywhere, even when I spoke on the phone." And then, she started the formations, combining them in shapes and giving them motion, a beautiful artistic illusion and imitation of nature. Her materials derive from organic cotton, which is environmentally-friendly and extremely soft. So, as paradoxical as it sounds, rock is not as hard as it seems!
In the end, I'm glad I didn't judge a book by its cover or the store by its front door color, because Jackie-Jane was certainly far from monotone...