Travel Journal: Northern Europe

After nearly 4 years, I was thrilled to be back in Europe last week on a shopping trip for work at Converse. For the most part the rain/snow held out and the overcast skies gave the cities we visited a cool gothic vibe as we braved the brisk winter air, darting from store to store. In this photo journal, I’ve gathered a small handful of images (out of the 1000’s of photos my coworkers and I snapped throughout the week) to give you a peek at my favorite moments from the trip.

A very apropos vintage book cover. // A rare glimpse of sky-blue-pink set behind one of the picturesque houses of Amsterdam’s chic Nine Streets, a shopping area nestled within the city’s canal network which is patterned like concentric water ripples.

Token tourist photo-op on our way to the Van Gogh Museum which houses the life’s work of the renowned Dutch artist. There, we walked through floors and floors of exquisite paintings illustrating the timeline of Vincent’s strange and tormented life.

Later that day we stumbled upon the custom shoemaking and repair shop of Nils Kalf. Of course I have a personal interest in this subject and Nils was more than generous in answering our questions about his work and how he got his start. There was much to be admired in the aesthetic of his house brand – from the labels and packaging to the neat little shop itself.

Acne’s Pre-Spring/Summer 2012 edgy ice cream colored palette, as spotted at de Bijenkorf department store in Amsterdam. // A silk flower holds its bloom in the crisp air outside a vintage shop.

We came across this great little boutique called Young Designers United just moments before they were set to close for the evening, but nonetheless got a great taste for store’s unique approach. YDU carries the collections of carefully selected up and coming designers, offering creative yet wearable and high quality yet affordable clothes and accessories. Truly a breath of fresh air.

Kleikollektief is another local gem we found on the cobblestone streets of Amsterdam. The tiny ceramics studio sells the fine work of Corien Ridderikhoff, from whom my coworker and I both bought adorable gold polka-dotted pieces from her collection. // A stray black cat on the hunt for a deal.

Loving this tortoise shell tile I spotted in the foyer of an old building in Antwerp. // The mens department upstairs at the luxurious Dries van Noten “Het Modepaleis” flagship store, one of the notable avant garde designers who has kept Antwerp on the fashion map since the 1980s.

Just next door, we visited MoMu, a fashion museum currently exhibiting a retrospective on Walter Van Beirendonck – another Belgian fashion maverick and part of the avant garde “Antwerp Six” (along with Dries van Noten). Walter is known for his colorful designs, social commentary, and spectacular shows and it was a treat to see his eccentric work, from the inspiration stage to the finished pieces.

From Antwerp, we hopped on the train, routed back through Amsterdam, and transferred onto the City Night Line to Berlin. I wouldn’t call it a red-eye, per say, because we had these nifty single bed compartments – a new experience for all us seasoned travelers in the group! // After arriving in Berlin at 4:30am, this to-die-for breakfast at Chipps recharged us for the day ahead. Best Benedict ever.

About to tackle Bread & Butter: 600 of the top market leaders and upcoming brands in contemporary clothing culture, housed in the old Berlin-Tempelhof central airport. // Cute denim jacket from Kuyichi, who had an interesting tradeshow booth showcasing its new “Salvage Project” through a series of rooms which each displayed a live team member reproducing one of the 8 stages of their unique in-house up-cycle production process.

In front of the Bauhaus-Archiv Museum of Design which collects furniture, textiles, drawings, and every other item related to the Bauhaus School. While the school was dissolved in 1933, only 14 years after Walter Gropius founded it, Bauhaus is nevertheless recognized as one of the most influential artistic movements in modern history. The later Gropius – Massachusetts connection brings this subject even closer to my heart.

Bauhaus posters for sale at the museum shop. // A whirlwind of chairs by Marcel Breuer including evolutions of his tubular steel chairs and the famous Wassily Chair (front, Black), which are said to have been inspired by the curved steel handlebars from his bicycle.

Ironic timezone installation of various Berlin neighborhoods by at Capsule. The tradeshow, housed in an old minting factory where, until 2006, Deutsche Mark and Euro-coins were produced, featured an edited collection of independent designers and streetwear labels in this industrial setting.

Evening treat of mini-cupcakes while shopping the boutiques in the chic Mitte district of Berlin. // “Haha hihi” neon chandelier, designed by John Kormeling and hanging in Departure Lounge 2 of the Amsterdam airport, sends us on our way home after a fun-filled trip to Europe!

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