Maison Ullens chooses Christian Wijnants as creative director
Change of strategy at Maison Ullens. Three years ago, the high-end women's ready-to-wear brand, launched in 2010 by Belgian baroness Myriam Ullens, hired Haider Ackermann as a "creative consultant" (he signed two collections). Today, it has announced the appointment of Antwerp designer Christian Wijnants as creative director of its collections. The idea is to open a new chapter by strengthening the label's Belgian signature.
As the label explains in a press release, "Myriam Ullens had been following Christian Wijnants' career for a long time when she approached him almost two years ago. The was an immediate connection, from the very first meeting".
Originally from Brussels, the designer left his home town for Antwerp in 1996 to train at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. It was in Antwerp that he founded his company in 2003, shortly after graduating and winning the Grand Prix at the Hyères Festival in 2001.
"With him, Myriam Ullens intends to further affirm the Belgian character of the house, which she wants to inscribe in the tradition of a country whose design schools build fashion where quality and creativity go hand in hand", the label emphasises, evoking "an instant complicity" with the Belgian designer, who over the years has established himself on the Parisian catwalks with his superb knits and silhouettes that are both chic and casual, with a strong emphasis on colours and prints.
Winner of the Andam prize in 2006, then the Woolmark Prize in 2013, this former assistant to Dries Van Noten has been able to grow his women's ready-to-wear brand, positioned in the high-end designer segment, with an expanded offer - the men's line and shoes were however suspended during the pandemic. Backed by an investor since 2013, the brand opened a flagship store in Antwerp in 2015 and a boutique in Berlin in 2022.
From Belgium to knitwear, the discreet Christian Wijnants and the confidential Maison Ullens have found more than one thing in common. The designer's first collection for the label, which focuses on the comfort and high quality of its garments made in Italy, highlights noble materials such as shearling, leather and cashmere.
For this autumn-winter 2023/24 collection, the designer was inspired by Wyoming's natural parks, in Western America, with a palette of vibrant colours of yellows, blues, oranges and greens. It will be presented to buyers in Paris at the end of January and to the press at Paris Fashion Week in February-March.
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