Marlou Breuls x SpongeBob
“The Icon Collection” FW19 – AFW Studio

Making our way through the narrow streets of the old city center of Amsterdam, time is cutting close to the 13.00 start of designer Marlou Breuls’ catwalk show, in collaboration with Nickelodeon character SpongeBob Squarepants. Named “The Icon Collection”, this unusual pairing has us wondering what an earth we can expect. We remember how indifferent we felt a few years back, towards the AFW couture show featuring the works of various designers in collaboration with Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Admittedly, we have since developed a feeble ambivalence toward such creative alliances. Navigating through Breuls’ online body of work however, her creations strike us as sultry avant-garde pieces which are refreshingly agile, yet clean and straightforward.

This straightforwardness is mirrored by the playful but modern stage design, featuring one of the characters from SpongeBob Squarepants as a huge inflatable bouncy passage way at the start of the runway. Once the sultry music pulsates through the main room of the Compagnie Theater and the first model struts by, it’s clear that Breuls has taken this collaboration into a direction far from fatuousness. Using the association with this cartoon character as a way to incorporate playful elements into eccentric, yet mature designs. We were pleasantly surprised by how well balanced this playfulness felt, presenting us with simple pieces such as a pink ball gown or white blazer and skirt embellished with what resembles big water bubbles. Other looks without much further needed embellishment were impressive and unique because of the inventive way volume was used, all while still looking very feminine. We loved the creation that looked like a coat/dress made of fuzzy blue corals, and the green piece with larger-than-life ruffles.

We could not have dreamt of a more artistically refined way to celebrate the 20th anniversary of SpongeBob Squarepants, these 8 statement pieces with 3D silhouettes definitely knocked it out of the park….. or ehh, the ocean rather. Our confidence in collaborations between fashion labels and popular television icons has been restored, as well as sparking a curiosity for what other fabulous designs are yet to be dropped by Marlou Breuls, who founded her label in 2016. We are shuddering with anticipation, and AFW Studio has only just begun…

Intense ensembles worn by an intense ensemble