Walter Van Beirendonck, with the collaboration of John Booth and Brian Kenny (scarves)
Flemish fashion designer Walter Van Beirendonck (1957-present) is one of the '6 of Antwerp', alongside Dries Van Noten, Marina Yee, Dirk Bikkembergs, Dirk Van Saene and Ann Demeulemeester. Graduates of the Antwerp Academy of Fine Arts between 1980 and 1982, they chose to show their collections together in London from then on, before dissociating themselves around 1989.
Mottled, playful, political, sometimes outraged, Walter Van Beirendonck's style differs from that of his more sober-looking colleagues. His collections question gender, society, and the canons of beauty while playing with the structure of classic clothing, which he deforms with fantasy and provocation.
But above all, Walter Van Beirendonck is a major figure in the history of men's fashion, whose wardrobe he renews, breaks the austere codes and brightens up the creative aridity.
For the 'Zwart' collection in spring-summer 2007, he turned the silhouette of the hooligan upside down. Here, this troublemaker with a hidden face sees his two attributes diverted: the cap is adorned with a mischievous pompom and the mask, held in place by three feminine brooches, is divided into two silk scarves with multicoloured prints, each made by two artists. On the first one, fashion illustrator John Booth creates the bearded portrait of Walter Van Beirendonck surrounded by erect penises, as a reminder of the designer's logo: his own naked silhouette, from the front, the sex visible. On the second one, the American artist Brian Kenny also makes the portrait of the creator from the front by distorting his features transformed into so many symbols.
The shiny Nylon canvas jacket was a popular success in the early 1990s. Marketed by the Schott brand, it is also inseparable from the outfit of the skinhead, the violent figure of the young British man from the working classes with hair cut off. However, Walter Van Beirendonck makes it innocuous when he stretches out his sleeves to the extreme with oversized gloves, reminiscent of the big foam hands held up by football fans.
This silhouette is true to Walter Van Beirendonck's creativity, which condemns all brutality by defusing it with colour, form and humour.
Notice's author : Alexandre Samson