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"Isn't everybody (with) stupid?"

Who hasn't laughed or cringed standing next to someone with the slogan and big arrow printed on their t-shirt 'I'm with stupid'? For Antoine Peters' new collection, everyone was with stupid.

By Jeanne Tan / 04-02-2009

Cheeky, playful, self mocking. The work of Antoine Peters never fails to surprise or put a (secret) smile on your face. His latest collection shown during AIFW titled "I’m with stupid" received a standing ovation from the packed crowd at the Kunstkerk in Amsterdam and a lot of laughs.

The mystery of the presentation started before the show: visitors were given invites with arrows in which they could iron onto their clothes. The entrance of the building featured 20m high neon arrows pointing to the doors. What was it all about? We debrief about last week with the designer himself, who takes us through the ins and outs of his new collection.

Where did the idea 'I'm with stupid' come from?
The collection refers to the funny insult which is best-known printed onto novelty T-shirts, in which the person in the direction of the arrow point is 'stupid'. Together with the lack of self-mockery which I do miss a lot in society, this inspired a collection full of 'plays with directions' in fabric-draping, pattern-cutting, print-design and fast (negative) judgements. Actually I asked the question; "Isn't everybody (with) stupid?"

Can you tell us a little more about the design concept?
The lightness of concept, and literally in the clothes itself, is emphasised by arrows which are visible in the print-design and styling. These were pointing into all directions to everyone, including myself of course. The showstopper was a wedding dress with a big 'I'm with stupid' and a big arrow on it. So I was standing next to this one during the finale.

These arrows are also an important part of the construction, silhouettes and details within the clothes, which isn't visible immediately. So the silhouettes and details also were created by arrows or playing with the direction of the material.

I love to play with extremes and proportions in material, print, silhouette and concept. By juxtaposing these extremes I tried to create a renewed, playful form of elegance; in which I'm especially interested in the draping and direction of the material. The arrow really emphasizes this. I even put in randomly, a red arrow to make it more clear and also more dynamic.

What did you hope to achieve with this collection?
To spread a smile!

To grab again a little more attention internationally. And try to sell it to shops! In this collection for the first time is a range of items that I'm able to produce. There always were shops that wanted my stuff, but I couldn't deliver to the shops, customers and my own quality standard. Now I can, and hopefully some shops still want to buy and sell ANTOINE PETERS.

Which is your favourite piece in this collection, and why?
This is a very difficult question to answer, especially this soon after the show. I think I will know after half a year, now it's like choosing between my babies.

And also, it's a difficult one to answer because a collection is very layered and built out of different parts and kind of designs. Some are more about communication, some are about day wear, evening wear, etc... When it's difficult to compare them, it's even more difficult to choose one favourite!

The soundtrack was fun! 90's dance hits performed on a grand piano!
I liked the idea of playing something very airy and 'poppy' on a very classic instrument.

So we heard all kind of 90's dance hits like 2 Unlimited, Felix, Party Animals, Chary Lownoise and Mental Theo and more, but in a reinvented and quite sophisticated way. It fitted the concept very well I think. And I listened to a compilation of 90's dance hits of hundreds of songs a lot during the process of this collection. It drove my interns crazy!

Photography: Peter Stigter

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