Ronald van der Hilst and his Vase: Bulbe and Romy Smits and her Imaginary Friend

Dear Shaded Viewers,

As you know I was in Antwerp yesterday to get a preview of the new Fragma collection designed by Peter Ceursters. Peter creates a men’s and women’s collection under the Fragma label but you will have to wait until September to see his new collection.

While I was there I  had the  pleasure of meeting  Ronald van der Hilst, a man who designs gardens, interiors and exteriors and even proposes an amazing object that might one day find itself as an innovative new housing structure called the brain hive. But more on that later.

Ronald specializes in the tulip. We always associate tulips with Holland but in fact the first tulips appeared in Turkey and then journeyed to Antwerp and from there went on to Holland.

Ronald has just created his first fascinating object, a vase in the form of  inverted tulip bulbs that has openings for flowers. The graduated dimensions of the vases allow them to be stacked within each other. The top-most vase is like the first growing point on the bulb: a single flower can be placed in this small vase, or it can be turned upside down to be viewed as a stopper of the  vase.

Ronald worked in collaboration with Cristallerie du Val Saint Lambert to make the 15 kilogram crystal vase that has a total height of 50 centimeters and a width of 30 centimeters. When you look at it you can imagine a temple vase or urn, a stupas of the Borobudur, Buddha’s profile, the primal mother and on and on and on. There is something so soothing about the object that it is almost like a form of meditation.

I noticed a pair of golden slippers on the floor and asked Ronald to model them for me so here you can share an intimate moment with this magical creator. The multidisciplinary also paints beautiful over-sized flowers.


Ronald van der Hilst at home in his slippers

You can also buy amazing medieval tulip bulbs that get their extraordinary look from a virus and are extremely rare.

I was enjoying some of the objects around his home and before  I left Ronald gave me a great little present of singing frogs in a box. They kept me company on the train ride back to Paris and are  the perfect pets for me just like Henrik Vibskov’s dogs. will be active as of 15 June.

Continuing on my Antwerp tour I visited the shop of designer Romy Smits. Romy creates clothing but she also designed a hotel interior in Brussels which is quite amazing, when I get an image I’ll show it to you. Romy’s work is as much about the interior being as the surface decoration. Aside from the many faces of Wooky she showed me some dresses that should attract the Pleats Please client, you know they are not too skinny by nature but they want to look slim.


Romy Smits in her shop Maison Romy Smits with her imaginary friend, registered under the trademark,Wooky.

Take care, Diane

Diane Pernet

A LEGENDARY FIGURE IN FASHION and a pioneer of blogging, Diane is a respected journalist, critic, curator and talent-hunter based in Paris. During her prolific career, she designed her own successful brand in New York, costume designer, photographer, and filmmaker.