Inge Grognard on What She Learned From the Antwerp Six

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Inge is wearing a trench coat by Balenciaga, asymmetric cotton shirt by Vetements x Comme des Garçons

The Belgian make-up artist who trawled flea markets with Martin Margiela describes the heroism of innovation

“I grew up in a time when it was not cool to be a fan, or a groupie, and so I never really thought about having heroes. But I do have a lot of people who I really admire, people who gave me a push, made me dare to do things. I suppose a big part of my life was meeting the Antwerp Six; they did a lot for me, and I learnt a lot through the whole system of the Academy in Antwerp – to research and to think. The other people who stimulated me were the Japanese designers: Comme des Garçons and Yohji Yamamoto. Seeing those kinds of clothes, their proportions, their holes, their blackness, their darkness – well, it changed everything. I think that was the moment when the Belgians dared to start creating their own collections, and you can probably call what they did heroic – they opened doors, and opened our eyes. All of these people are my heroes.”

Aged 14, Inge Grognard trawled flea markets with Martin Margiela before they, along with his niece Josiane, would stage impromptu fashion shows in the streets. It was their relationship that prompted Grognard’s career – her first make-up job was Margiela’s school project, and she has been behind some of his most celebrated beauty moments. Grognard went on to collaborate with similarly progressive designers, from Hood by Air to Phoebe English. Her ability to communicate a tangible authenticity and sense of subversion is remarkable. While she never attended the Antwerp Royal Academy, its principles bled into her world via the revolutionary creativity of the Antwerp Six.

Hair Maarit Niemela at Bryant Artists using Bumble and Bumble; Make-up Jenny Coombs at Streeters using NARS Cosmetics; Styling assistants Rebecca Perlmutar, Marta Martinez Regidor; Make-up assistant Porsche Poon; Post-production Labyrinth Photographic; Special thanks to Clapton Tram

This article originally appears in AnOther Magazine S/S17.