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Introducing The Belgian Maison Natan By Édouard Vermeulen

Édouard Vermeulen Maison Natan
Maison Natan recently celebrated its Paris residency and the launch of the Spring/Summer 2021 collection. The Belgian couture and ready-to-wear house has a solid clientele of women who seek quality and timeless fashion, women who purchase Natan for over 20 years now, including Queens and A-listers from the region.
And behind it all is a visionary founder, Édouard Vermeulen, who told us all about his route to Paris. 
AM: When did you establish your brand?  
After graduating as an interior designer from Saint-Luc College in Brussels in the early 1980s, I exhibited my first creations on the ground floor of 158 Avenue Louise, where the couturier Paul Natan was featuring his own collections. When his store closed in 1983, I seized the opportunity to rent this space. Paul Natan's clients continued to frequent the boutique, and I decided to pursue my passion for couture. I took over the house under the name of NATAN and began to foster a vision of a classical yet sophisticated signature fashion. Now we are active in Europe through our own boutiques and multi-brand stores mainly in the Benelux, France and the UK. 
AM: How is your creative process like?  
I get my inspiration from events, from the streets and from friends. More and more I find myself browsing collections online as I’m a fan of Pinterest. 


I don’t sit down to draw, but I have the luxury to have an atelier one floor below my office, and I go there to brainstorm and to have patterns made. I love to see our prototypes worn. The sketches made by me or our stylists need to come to life for me to actually evaluate the outcome.  

AM: And how would you describe the Maison Natan woman?
She is a woman who enjoys timeless fashion, minimalism and color. We have a feminine signature, unlike the androgyny tendency of today’s fashion.

Maison Natan
AM: Your clients include members of the royal family, when did this relationship start? And do you adjust your artistic vision according to their wardrobes?  
In 1984, my atelier was designing a capsule collection for a charity event. Since Queen Paola of Belgium was at the heart of this association, the emerging Belgian house quickly took root in the heart of high society. 
As with every customer, it is about the connection. I make suggestions depending on the occasion. Of course we have pieces made especially for the Queens. As I’ve had the great opportunity to work with them for many years, I understand them and their needs pretty well. 
We have our own DNA, and this doesn’t change according to the wishes of a customer. In our couture store we have all possibilities thanks to a huge stock of fabrics and seamstresses with many years of experience, so our creations can go very far.  
AM: In your opinion, what makes Belgian designers so different? And do you believe they are getting the international visibility they deserve?  
We have designers in Antwerp that do amazing work think of Dries Van Noten, etc. But I consider myself a couturier, not a designer. The approach is different; with us it starts with a silhouette while a designer starts with an idea. Of course and luckily there is an overlap. 
Belgian fashion, with all the talent that is nourished and developed over here, does not enjoy the visibility it deserves yet. This does not only apply to Belgians only, I believe there is so much creativity, but we only tend to see the big international powerhouses and labels. This is all driven by algorithms online, and I  worry about the medium and small creative minds of the future. I am not saying I don’t buy a pair of Gucci shoes, but clients should also look elsewhere and be conscious about it. 
 Édouard Vermeulen Maison Natan
AM: Why have you just decided to open a store in Paris? And why on Rive Gauche?  
Paris is a beautiful window to the world, and we needed a strong presence. The street and store match with our identity. I’ve always loved the area, I love a stroll at the Bon Marché, and now you can simply exit that store and walk into ours.  
AM: You have just participated in Amsterdam Fashion Week, can we expect something during Paris Fashion Week as well? 
We show our Couture collection in Brussels and our ready to wear collection in Amsterdam within a show. These remain our strongest markets. In France we have done a show once at the Belgian embassy to celebrate our 30 years, let’s see what the future holds. As more and more shows are going digital, we are seizing those opportunities so everyone can join in.  
AM: What would you say is your proudest career moment so far?
It still remains making the wedding dress of Queen Mathilde of Belgium.  
AM: Finally, what are your upcoming projects?  
We have an initiative called the Artist Studio where we support local artists and showcase their work. In the upcoming months we have two more editions, one with Papier Marché Sculptures and another with Ben Storms. We are also developing our online sales channel.