I posted about lovely Antwerp last summer (here). Going back there on an utterly miserable, rainy winter's day a couple of weeks ago I wondered if I could sustain my enthusiasm for the city.
This square in the shopping and restaurant area of Graanmarkt that was filled with outdoor diners under leafy trees in the summer was deserted in the rain, but still elegant.
Cafés and bookshops offered warm, friendly interior spaces to dry out
and at Bourla restaurant behind the Toneelhuis lunch fully lived up to Belgium's dizzying reputation for good food.
And then there was fashion: at Momu (Museum of Fashion) the Dries van Noten exhibition has recently relocated from its run in Paris, back to van Noten's hometown.
Leading into the exhibition is a passage way filled with posters - references to music, films and fashion of the 70s and 80s when van Noten emerged as one of the Antwerp Six young designers ...
... a hint that the exhibition beyond is not so much a retrospective as an glimpse into his rich and prolific creative process.
Damien Hirst's butterfly collage, Proust, Cecil Beaton, Rothko, Francis Bacon, Jimi Hendrix, military uniforms, Rajasthan and Bollywood, Cindy Wright's skull art are just some of the elements that inspired his creativity.
Antwerp March 2015. Yes, still one of my favourite European cities.