Essentiel backstage @ Miele Catwalk

The observant reader of this blog knows I have a weakness for everything Essentiel. Every season I frantically flip through the pages of their look book and mark all the beautiful things I’d love to wear. This basically leaves me with a fully marked look book (and more than often a sad and empty bank account – I have no self-restrain). For me, the label stands for pure contemporary luxury. Deep and vibrant colours, big knits, soft leather and beautiful classic pieces, always with a modern twist.

When Marie from PR agency Oona asked if I would like to follow around the leading lady of Essentiel in her preparations towards the Miele Catwalk fashion show, I didn’t have to think twice about it. Along with Toni from The Fashion Cloud I met up with dynamic duo Inge Onsea and Tom De Poortere. Tom’s been designing the womenswear collection for four years now, and together with Inge and the rest of the team he always brings the most exciting new silhouettes to the table.

About Essentiel: Essentiel was created in 1999 by Esfandiar Eghtessadi, son of fashion designer Nicole Cadine. What started as a t-shirt line in 25 different colours grew out to be a well-established name in the Belgian fashion landscape. Essentiel carries both a womens- and menswear collection and (unfortunately for the last time this season) also a kids collection. Last season (s/s 11) they launched the Flash collection, a brightly coloured limited edition collection, and in the future they plan to infuse the main collection with more of these capsule collections.

About Miele Catwalk: When thinking about fashion, Miele might not be the first brand that pops up in your head. However, it’s a brand with a passion for fabrics and fashion. So for the third time they hosted the Miele Catwalk, an exclusive fashion-filled event that puts established Belgian labels and new designers in the spotlight. Amongst the designs running down the catwalk were Filles à Papa, Tim Van Steenbergen, Lenny Leleu, Natan, Joanne Vanden Avenne and of course Essentiel.

We arrive at 16 o’clock and head over to the backstage area. Here I was thinking that backstages are always superhectic and crazy, but on the contrary, everyone was still calm and civilized.

When Inge and Tom arrive it’s like a whirlwind entering the room. Immediately they’re everywhere. Checking the ensembles, dressing the models, editing some looks, … Both Tom and Inge are wearing bright colours, it made it that much easier for us to spot them and follow them around. The turquoise heels are from a/w 2011 and are now availale in stores for 165 euro. Love.

The steamer comes out (and stays in the picture for a while). All of the garments need to look impeccable on the runway, so every crease and every fold has to be straightened. What I love is that both Inge and Tom were all over the steamer, instead of shoving this task off to an assistant. The green coat was amazing and contrasted beautifully with the red hair of the model.

The models are all dressed in Essentiel so it’s time for the final rehearsal. We watch from inside the (still empty) venue, and all agreed on one thing: the models, the clothes, the music, everything looked great together.

The fashionable crowd is starting to arrive at the venue. At this point Inge’s shoes come off and the sequins come out. Turns out pink patent Miu Miu’s do get uncomfortable after running around on them for hours. But she looks great no matter what. After all, who needs high heels when you’re 5’10”? (And look at Tom’s Adidas Originals by Jeremy Scott, they glow in the dark!). After a few interviews it’s time to take our places and enjoy the show – at least for us.

Showtime! Initially Inge would come and watch the show with us, but as a true perfectionist she wanted to be backstage to check if everything ran smoothly. And did it! The crowd received an amazing show (more about the other designers in a later post). was responsible for the short introduction movies about every brand or designer, and here’s the one they shot for Essentiel.

End of the fashion show madness and time for champagne and ice cream cones to celebrate. By eleven o’clock it’s time to call it a night. Both Inge and Tom have to leave early the next morning. Inge is heading to New York for Fashion Week and Tom’s going shopping in Paris and Copenhagen. It’s a hard knock life, but someone’s gotta do it, right?

More about Essentiel Antwerp? Visit the website.
More about the Miele Catwalk? Check out the website or visit

Shout out to Marie from Oona for arranging this day, to Toni from The Fashion Cloud for the lovely company and to Inge and Tom for not getting annoyed by us following them all day.