Dirk Bikkembergs charity auction

Join the Dirk Bikkembergs charity auction, where 10% of all proceeds will go to het Dierenthuisje, a no-kill shelter and animal sanctuary. Bid on vintage 90’s Bikkembergs boots with laces through the soles, elastic straps and/or mountaineering tips.

orginal 90s Maison Martin Margiela dark grey linen tabi boots with block heel

Discover our sold archive

We do not only sell pieces, we also aim to keep an archive of the most iconic pieces we sold. By creating this online fashion library, we want to honour the history and work of the designers and give you the opportunity to enjoy and explore these archival pieces.

Currently we are keeping an archive of the following avant-garde designers: A.F. Vandevorst, Ann Demeulemeester, Comme des Garçons, Dries Van Noten, Haider Ackermann, Issey Miyake, Junya Watanabe, Rick Owens, and our most extensive one: Maison Martin Margiela, with subdivisions for the Margiela Artisanal Garments and the Tabi Boots.

If you are looking to date a piece from your own collection, especially a Margiela piece, you can always send us an email and we’ll do our best to provide you more info on your archival purchases.

About Vaniitas

Vaniitas is a Belgium based store (formerly located in Antwerp). We sell mainly online, however, appointments are still possible in Geel.

Although we initially sold many vintage brands, from Margiela to archive Helmut Lang and Hussein Chalayan, we found we had to narrow it down and find our niche. Looking at our fashion history, bringing forth the Antwerp Six and Martin Margiela, and as the chauvinists we are, we started focusing on the Belgian and Japanese avant-garde.

Belgian Designers

New lexicons of clothing were created and the essence of wabi-sabi present in the work of these Japanese aesthetes touched the soul of many young designers deeply. These young designers, who were looking for a new meaning to express their creativity through clothes, included the fashion students of the Antwerp Six: Ann Demeulemeester, Dries Van NotenWalter Van Beirendonck, Dirk Bikkembergs, Dirk Van Saene and Marina Yee.

The breakthrough occurred in 1986 as the group rented a truck and set out for the London Fashion Week with their collections. Confident that there would be other, less conventional ways than those of the established system, the revolutionary group rented a truck in 1986 and set out for the London Fashion Week with their collections, earning themselves the name ‘Antwerp Six’.

So began a new wave that would rock the foundations of Western fashion and paradigms established by haute couture and already shaken by the Japanese designers.

Japanese Designers

We included these Japanese designers because without Issey Miyake, Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons or Yohji Yamamoto there would be no Antwerp Six, Martin Margiela or deconstruction.

Their radical thinking translated into radical attires: garments reconstructed through the deconstruction of conventional patterns; monochromatic, focusing on ascetic and mysterious black; unusual volumes, sometimes over-sized proportions; asymmetry; overlapping; rips; seams and hems on the outside, taking part in the design process; unfinished garments; knots and bows as fastenings, keeping the pieces in place; faded boundaries between male and female.

Maison Martin Margiela

One of the Belgian school would take the poetics of deconstruction initiated by the Japanese designers even further – Martin Margiela.

Margiela, another Belgian contemporary, was not actually part of the group that showed in London, although he is often mistakenly described as one of the Antwerp Six; he had moved to Paris, initially working for Jean Paul Gaultier.

Martin Margiela found his own voice through a radical aesthetic: he maximised deconstruction and dissection of the garments, making this process a form of reflection; he moved elements, such as sleeves or collars, forcing the wearer to put them on sideways or backwards, and making garments appear two-dimensional when laid flat.

Where as couture used to be this grand spectacle of opulence, Martin preferred to work with found objects, recycling and upcycling them, following the thinking pattern of arte povera. This influence could also be found in the knitwear produced by Miss Deanna, featuring pulled hems, garments produced with tears and loose threads, stretched out jumpers.

His most iconic work might be the tabi boot, an interpretation of the split-toed tabi boots or jika-tabi, worn by Japanese workers. By putting a heel under the tabi boot, their initial function as a working shoe was completely transformed.

Over the years there have been many versions, from graffiti and cemented versions, to the most extreme sole-version that had to be duct-taped to the models’ feet.

When asked: ‘what is the most important footprint of your career?’ Martin Margiela stated: “it’s the Tabi boot.” It’s recognisable and it has been there for more than 25 years now – it’s there, and it still goes on, and it has never been copied. It’s an incredible story.”

Archive collections

It is hard to not understand our love of these iconic designers, changing the way we think and look at clothing and women’s bodies.

As a store, but also collectors, we try to gather as many historical pieces to distribute to fellow aficionados. To avoid keeping these items landing in private collections or just in the fashion museum archives, we keep our archive collection online. This way, we these pieces on exhibition for everyone to view. We’re not just a store; we aim to be a digital fashion library, keeping the history of these designers alive.