As a fashion designer, Dirk van Saene has long enjoyed worldwide recognition, and his influence in the discipline cannot
be overestimated. Widely sited as a formative inspiration to a generation of younger designers (including, for example,
by Veronique Branquinho and Bemard Wilhelm, the outgoing and incoming Professors of Fashion at Vienna's Angewandte
für Bildende Kunst), van Saene began his career with his own Antwerp shop, Beauties and Heroes, in 1981. Two years after
opening the shop, van Saene won the gold medal at Belgium's prestigious Golden Spindie contest. Four years after that,
he secured an international reputation, presenting his collection in London as a member of the so-called "Antwerp Six"
(with Walter Van Beirendonck, Dirk Bikkembergs, Ann Demeulemeester, Dries Van Noten and Marina Yee).
Unlike some of these colleagues, van Saene has always maintained a small company and scale of production, outlet through
a limited selection of shops worldwide, which puts the minimum pressure to compromise on his eccentric, heartfelt vision.
Although "Ceramics" will be van Saene's first exhibition of art works, fans of his clothes have long been familiar with his work
as a painter. For collection after collection has featured hand-painted clothing and printed reproductions of his paintings on fabric.
For "Ceramics," the artist has collaborated with craftsmen across Europe to produce a body of works that encompasses not just ceramics, but wood-work, glass-work and more, all integrated in a sculptural gesamtkunstwerk.
Van Saene lives and works in Antwerp. In addition to designing collections under his name, he maintains the shop Walter,
together with Walter van Beirendonck. Van Saene also instructs in fashion design at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Antwerp.