Rotterdam never fails to disappoint in the style stakes. With modern architecture and its canal setting, it’s a great place for a weekend break. My second visit to the city felt like visiting a favourite cousin- the lush green parks, clean streets and hospitable locals making it more of a pleasure than a work chore!
My home for the weekend was the newest pad in town, and I was excited to sample a room on the penthouse floor of the latest addition to the city’s five star offerings, The Mainport Hotel. Aptly situated near the port, it commands spectacular views of the city and sunset. Viewed all the better in the luxury spa complete with swimming pool, Turkish bath, sauna, treatment rooms and gym on the 9th floor. Perfectly situated for a stunning view and opening hours from 6.30am – 11pm, there is no excuse not to wind down here!
With great sights promised on my weekend agenda, it is only right to mention that this hotel is a preferred partner of the current James Bond exhibition at the Kunsthal Museum. “Designing 007: 50 years of Bond Style” is the definitive showcase for Bond fans. Celebrating the iconic world of the world’s best-loved action man (in all his guises). The style and sex appeal of 50 years worth of films is fully explored in a blockbuster of a show. With more than 500 gadgets, costumes, classic vehicles, props and film clips, carefully curated by London’s Barbican Centre, and presented in an out of this world multimedia experience of the world’s favourite secret agent. (Whichever actor is your preference!) Back at the hotel, a speedboat ride, Bollinger (Bond’s preferred champagne) and his shaken not stirred Martini are on offer. But I would recommend the boat ride pre martini- it really is quite speedy!
With two major style exhibitions on offer this autumn, I was very much looking forward to the `The Future of Fashion is Now´ which opened last week until 18th January 2015, at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. This promised to be a completely different experience – fusing art, design, photography, technology and fashion. Not specifically targeted to fashion fans, or art historians, this is a must see exhibition about the future of what we wear and how we wear it.
Showcasing more than fifty contemporary international designers, artists and creators including renowned names like Viktor&Rolf, Hussein Chalayan and Nick Knight to emerging talents such as Ana Rajacevic and Rejina Py; the gallery has been transformed into a present-day playground for the next generation of designers, who showcased their innovation interpretation of the concept of ‘fashion’.
The exhibition has been in the making for quite some time and six cutting edge designers were carefully chosen by an international judging panel and awarded the coveted title of The Future of Fashion. These included Iris van Herpen (Netherlands), Lucîa Cuba (Peru), Craig Green (UK), and OLEK (Poland/USA) who showcased their exclusive site-specific work at the exhibition; It is worth checking the online platform at www.futureoffashion.nl for an insight into the creative process.
With fashion being such a commercial enterprise in the 21st century, it is interesting to see how the next generation of designers is given a free range to develop their exciting visions and take on the notion of fashion of the future. The show takes us on a journey where they re-define the concept of the traditional fashion calendar. Six monthly seasons and trends have been boycotted and the focus is on well and truly on fashion being fun, exciting, innovative and perhaps not even wearable- fusing fashion with wearable art. The technically advanced designs offer an insight of what fashion might look in the future.
Pushing boundaries is what the Netherlands is good at, and it seems only right that this exhibition was launched in Rotterdam, a very forward thinking city in more ways than one.
Once you have had your fill of fashion, it is definitely worth a visit to another Rotterdam highlight- the recently opened Markthal Rotterdam. The much talked about food walhalla, is one of the cities most welcome and tasty additions, offering a wide range of fresh, modern delicacies in beautiful surroundings in a glass horse-shoe shaped arch in the heart of the city. Open every day of the week until 8pm, you can be sure to want a second visit- before or after hitting the local shops- including the newly launched and biggest H & M store in Europe!
So if it’s art, fashion, culture, food or shopping, you are after, you can soak it all up in a weekend in Rotterdam, and with flights from City Airport, London, taking just 40 minutes, I know I will be back.
For more information check out the extremely helpful tourist board
Designing 007: Fifty Years of Bond Style, until 8th February 2015.
The Future of Fashion is Now, until 18th January 2015.
By Sara Darling