In April 2014, Time Out described Belgian singer-songwriter Stromae -- born Paul Van Haver -- as “the most famous pop star you’ve never met.” Since then, the Brussels-raised musician’s sophomore album, Racine Carrée (French for "square root"), has topped European charts and crossed the pond to land on US charts as well.
On the waves of this success, Van Haver launched Mosaert -- an anagram of Stromae -- which functions as a creative studio and clothing line inspired by his colorful personal aesthetic and frequent habit of eschewing gender binaries. Last month saw the release of the line’s second capsule, which features an edited selection of polos, cardigans, pullovers and socks. The garments have been styled with a distinctly schoolboyesque sensibility that reminds us of stern schoolmarms shepherding their pupils through picture day.
Further reflective of Van Haver’s music and personal history is the ubiquitous presence of bright African wax printing techniques which are reimagined in geometric patterns and melded with preppy English silhouettes. Though born to a Flemish mother and raised in Belgium, Van Haver’s father was a Rwandan architect who became an unfortunate victim of the 1994 genocide. As a musical artist, Stromae parallels the cultural fusion that is reflected in himself, often drawing on Caribbean and African influences along with a multitude of other genres to create the memorable dance beats and dreamy synthesized sounds that draw audiences.
In continuity with the joining of Van Haver’s musical and creative presences, his line is shown to be unisex and is styled on both younger and older generations. During a French television show in 2014, Stromae performed as his “significant other” which was in fact him dressed in more tailored clothing while sporting light makeup and a bob-style wig.
Though the capsule is small and arguably full of essential basics -- socks and pullovers are hardly a break from the mold -- the idea and execution of them are what make Mosaert special. Van Haver is the product of a globalized upbringing and has managed to convey this in a small collection that at once pays homage to multiple histories and ways of existing in the world.
Shop Mosaert here.