Max & Lola is our favourite kids designer fashion label. There you go – we’ve said it. And at fluxlings you know we love kids clothes. But if we have to name our favourite it’s Antwerp based Max & Lola who celebrate their 25th anniversary this year, still creating fiercely creative clothes for girls and boys.The little girl who knows quite well that Marilyn is still alive, Dreams of being a well dressed tree, was stairing at snails , doesn’t understand why she can not catch the wind while her hair can, and wonders what time it is on the moon. And the little boy who swapped his shoes for a single flower, Refused to have his hair cut, Didn’t like to pull up his two sleeves, Dreamed of being a bird with a pointed beak
Fluxling #1 got a dress from the AW11/12 collection this Christmas, and it is absolutely the most wonderful girl’s dress I have ever seen. It is matt gold, textured like bubble-wrap, wonderful shape with little cropped sleeves. I would wear that dress! So how do you do design in gold without looking like a bauble? Well, Max & Lola is created by the innovative and unconventional Kaatje Sandra – so ask her! It’s certainly not something I’ve seen in adult collections of late.
Max & Lola encompasses a whole sensibility. The clothes themselves of course, but the aesthetic, the imagery and the lyrics that make up the whole. It’s a label that fires tendrils out from its own fully formed, kid’s universe, capturing moments of imagination. The label features unique fabrics, wonderful cuts, and never takes itself too seriously with its colourful prints and lots of fun. A very modern label, with traditional artisan values.
Our top pick from the Spring Summer 2012 collection is the white polka dot dress with striped sleeves – on fluxlings #1’s list for her 6th birthday next month! – and the omni-present blazers with shorts for boys! But we do love it all. So to pay our respects to 25 years of Max & Lola, we asked Kaatje some questions on the label, and kid’s fashion in the Belgian high fashion enclave…..
FLUXLINGS: Who are Max & Lola? – I know they are not your children, but are they real or imaginary characters?
KAATJE SANDRA: No,they really exist! Children of friends and both are musicians!
FLUXLINGS: Can you remember your first collection? Do you keep an archive of old pieces?
KS: I remember very good the first collections … I keep all the technical draws and specially one piece … a dress with ping-pong balls.
FLUXLINGS: Do you have any favourite pieces from over the years?
KS: There is one piece who is already more then ten years in the collection… The blaser for the boys, but for three years it have been a mixed item!
FLUXLINGS: Does children’s fashion / Max & Lola follow trends like adult fashion, or is it more instinctive for kids?
KS: NOW! In design for children we are more free! We follow about 30-40% the trends, but anyway it’s instinctive.
FLUXLINGS: I guess starting 25 years ago, you would almost be a contemporary of the Antwerp 6 / Margiela scene?
KS: That’s exagerated! The adult fashion was important for the kids fashion, with the Antwerp 6 Belgian labels. They were a motor to introduce the children’s fashion! Now they call me the dinosaur in kids fashion!
FLUXLINGS: Does that unconventional Antwerp fashion sensibility influence your designs?
KS: Not really but yes to the unconventional way of thinking. Designing. Action…I love Margiela, Ann Demeulemeester…!!
FLUXLINGS: Are you careful about where Max & Lola is stocked?
KS: Yes, it’s important. Max & Lola need the right creative shops whos have a “COUP DE COEUR” – important for the kids with personality!
FLUXLINGS: Has the ethos/your approach to the brand changed over the years?
KS: There is an evolution in the creation….but still for kids with strong characters and imaginations!
FLUXLINGS: The Max & Lola Spring collection has a really fantastical, imaginative, inspirational theme. I can imagine a Max & Lola storybook with all the characters.
KS: A storybook with a mixture of all the characters of 25 years of Max & Lola would be great! I think when I design it’s just natural…. it’s my motor.
FLUXLINGS: What do you do to relax away from the label?
KS: Art, music, friends, travelling….
Photography www.christophegilbert.com / Art Direction Didier Vanden Poetry Carl Hansenne / Graphic Artist Gaëtan Baudoux