Amsterdam’s fashion enthusiasts in search of something new, colorful and inspiring might want to pay a visit to the Fabienne Chapot (FCXV) Expo, writes Metro Reporter Ciaran Howley.
Dutch fashion has been having its moment for some time now. In the last two decades, innovative fashion houses like Daily Paper, THE INDIVIDUALS GEN24 and Edwin Oudshoorn Couture have skyrocketed as internationally recognized and respected labels. With each year, Amsterdam Fashion Week becomes more of a global event and is known for its experimentation with cultural and artistic spaces, far outpacing the traditional runways of Milan, Paris and New York.
Luxury accessory brand Wandler seemingly did the unthinkable and situated an Expo inside a petrol station in Amsterdam-Noord. The striking image of heels and handbags in neon-lit food shelves flooded Instagram and the exhibit ‘Without Light There Is No Color’ was cited by many publications as the highlight of the week.
Taking us somewhere slightly more commercial, but also whimsical, is the Fabienne Chapot Expo (FCXV) found on Kalverstraat, at Rokin 21. Kalverstraat this time of year can be a total chore. From a retail worker’s perspective, one can usually see the life draining from customers who amble from one anonymous fast-fashion chain to the next. If you duck past the smokers in the C&A alleyway, manage to cross the road without being hit by a car, bike or tram, you’ll see it tucked away beside the Scheltema Book emporium: FCXV, a pocket-sized exhibition that all fashion enthusiasts will get a kick out of.
For those seeking a break from the repetitive, the Fabienne Chapot Expo is less about spending and more about enjoying yourself in a colorful, interactive setting. The FCXV Expo ditches the cool and affronting tone often found in atelier fashion stores and opts for charisma, character and joy. The integral pieces boast festive palettes, splashed with pinks, yellows and purples. The design team transformed the space into a bedroom in the color of the iconic embroidered ochre Philoméne, placing suspended bright yellow ropes over it.
The team behind this divine museum includes DIRT alumni (Dutch Institute of Royal Taste) Stéphanie Barber and Henriette Tilanus, print designers, overseen by Hayley Belton, the Head of Design. The team professed that the central thesis behind the designs was clashing cultures:
“We combined antiques with modern elements in a colorful palette. Next to this clash we also wanted to create an interactive place where people who visit this store can be part of FCXV, so it will be an experience.”
Dazzling as it is, what’s the occasion? Fifteen years in the Dutch fashion market is no easy feat in an age of American fast fashion brands and their increasing consumption of the sector. In a statement made by Fabienne Chapot herself, the designer and CEO emphasizes the importance of history in this expo.
“An anniversary is also a moment to reflect on the past, and by doing that I felt the need to reinstall some iconic pieces from the past. I went back to the roots and secretly started relaunching our bag collection. I am super proud to present this collection with a wink to the past, fully modernized to the present-day brand values.”
Chapot herself started the brand fifteen years ago, as an accessory label under the banner of ‘Fab.’ Chapot attended academic college rather than fashion school, so decided to focus on accessories, which she was familiar with. Indeed, it’s the U-shaped bags, which adorn the expo from top to bottom, that have become synonymous with the brand. However, the company exceeded expectations in its first year of innings and went on to produce clothing.
The biggest takeaway from the Expo is undoubtedly the sense of fun and excitement on display. Should you find yourself drained from a day of shopping, FCXV is an absolute must.