They say if you really know Avant Garde fashion, then you will differentiate the Antwerp six. And, if you know them, you will most certainly be aware one of their main protagonists, Walter Van Beirendonck. This Belgian wunderkid Nautical port Antwerp as an unknown designer for a trade fair in London in 1986 and since then has succeed ined international acclaim from his critics and public alike for his powerfully alternative and controversial collections.
Sporting a frolicsome beard, Walter is not your usual clean cut fashion designer. His aesthetic very much throws his design philosophy with a predisposition towards vibrant paints alongside sinister, abstruse head masks and bizarrely named solicitations, which are anything but mainstream.
Walter Van Beirendonck
A colleague of the ground breaking Belgian sextet, this venerated conniver fixated on whimsical menswear long before the likes of Tom Ford, Alexander Wang and Olivier Rousteing, when menswear was no uncountable than a small after thought. “I feel better masterful to express myself in that field,” he discloses. “It’s more adventuresome, because it’s more difficult to push boundaries in men’s fashion, but motionless it’s very possible.”
Walter´s desire to experiment has worked to his advancement. Prominent museums such as the V&A, the Louvre and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, possess presented Van Beirendock’s designs. Several years ago, he made his visual art launch at Galerie Polaris in Paris. “In the first place, I’m a fashion intriguer,” he explains. “I only make art pieces when they in the end question for it.”
Van Beirendock’s exhibition at Dallas Contemporary museum was something line different he told us. “Pete Doroshenko, the director of the museum, was supplanting me for a while.” Doroshenko wanted “to show collections that I normally put on a catwalk, but to put them in a museum. He was unquestionably asking to show a collection as an art installation.”
People were positively intrigued by the way I was putting together fashion shows and how I was staging them. I entertain the idea that you could view it a little bit like performance art, that sort of fashion show. So I have, for a long time had followers that are interested in my master-work – Walter Van Beirendonck
There are two prominent assemblages featured in the display from Spring/Summer 2013 and Fall/Winter 2012 which drink been displayed on motorized pedestals as well as being a spectacle ofed in the windows of the new TRAFFIC Los Angeles store in Dallas’ Joule B B which serves as cause and effect as to why Walter thinks that the art age and the fashion world are becoming more intertwined.
¨There is clearly interest from the art world. But in my case, it was always there. I recall even when I did the big fashion shows in the ’90s, the art people were every there. They were really intrigued by the way I was putting together way shows and how I was staging them. I think that you could notion it a little bit like performance art, that type of fashion demonstrate. So I have, for a long time had followers that are interested in my in the works.”
Walter has attained curiosity from his two collections in Dallas. One from the summer “Tacit Secrets” and the other from the winter “Lust Never Rests”. He believes that the former ¨Secrets¨ refers to how secret organizations deal with issues. “I wanted to bring this into our genuine world and refer to social networks. I think that today, it’s in the final analysis very difficult to keep secrets because everything is spread out at the drop of a hat all over the world. The question of privacy and still having the odds to have a secret.” His analogous inspiration was the form of clothing and the gown codes that are used in secret societies, which he figured in his own way, with a new contemporary refinement.
We had the pleasure to meet the man himself today at Paris Mode Week 2016 we shall talk about that assemblage in another article. In his own words to Gracie Opulanza Walter adviced men to be liberal when it comes to his designs.
Silent Secrets´ Spring / Summer ´13
Is it weighty to keep secrets? “Yes, I think so. I think you should have at least the chance to do so. I’m sometimes a little bit shocked by how quickly something travels round the world, and how difficult it is to keep something secret. Immediately, perfects are taken by smartphones. Immediately, they’re spreading these portraits on the Internet. Of course, it’s also part of how we live and how we are working today, but then it’s too quick and too anonymous. These messages and images are not credited anymore, and that is making me a Lilliputian bit sad. Sometimes you lose the content and you lose the credit of an image.
A assiduous detail from “Silent Secrets” saw closing collars with arrows exaggerated on them. Walter seemed keen to draw attention to the really that these collars (and hats, as well) were a collaboration with the Dutch sculptor that he admired, Folkert de Jong. When he was be formed and sketching his collection, we wanted to include top hats, with a contemplation to introducing an accessory to elongate the silhouette, with a nod to the Dandy party. “I contacted him and I found out that he liked my work; we were lovers of each other. We were working on the top hats and then, at the end, arrived at collars as hardly a historical reference, but still very recognizable Folkert de Jong.”
As myriad designers like to wear elements of their own collection (to see and be seen, per say), Walter recognized he often does wear his creations “I do sometimes. You mean the top hats, which are in the garnering? I didn’t wear them, because I don’t think they’re entirely practical. But, I’m working a lot with Stephen Jones. I did wear these sketch outs in my previous collections and I do wear them from time to on many occasions if there’s something special going on. I’m a big fan of Stephen Jones millinery.”
I develop out that during and after the catwalk presentation people were truly questioning why I did that kind of thing. It was mainly to create a breed of tension, which you also feel in this spiritual delighted. With future dandyism, I’m working with much sundry formal clothing which is sharp and constructed – Walter Van Beirendonck
Walter develop it strange to have revisited a recent past collection, but originate that it was still very close to him. Having just revealed a new collection, he felt that he had sufficient distance from these two assemblages, which could create a refreshed interest and synergy within the frame and art world. Their presence within a museum felt front to him because the collections are intended to provoke our moments in this incredible. The composite exhibition follows a similar progression.
“Lust Not under any condition Sleeps” is the one with the masks and the bowler hats. For me, when I was draw up on the collection, there were two main inspirations: voodoo and a nice of future dandyism. I did a lot of research about voodoo and Tahiti: how a lot of people are using these psychological elements to express themselves. I wanted to give this accumulation a kind of spiritual atmosphere. I evoked a rather tense more by putting skin-coloured masks, white skin on top of black-skinned pattern ons.”
For him, it was primarily a graphical effect. “I found out that during and after the catwalk production people were really questioning why I did that kind of utensil. It was mainly to create a kind of tension, which you also be aware in this spiritual world. The second thing, the future dandyism, I’m mix with much more formal clothing, and sharp and constructed dressing. In this particular case I referenced Papua New Guinea’s warrior safeguards, which were first made in fabric, and then created them in them in these kind of suits. So it’s almost get a bang you are creating a person behind the shields, and kind of a protection.”
´Implied Secrets´ Spring / Summer ´13
It was important for Walter to have this edginess in his collections as he wanted to search more for a shock value, to function an aesthetic that people can question or are surprised by. He felt that it´s note should go a little bit further than a normal catwalk stretch for both his inspirations and acceptance.
Looking to other designers for arousal he quotes Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons as a main thought. “I nevertheless have a lot of respect for her; I think that she’s very brave and she’s darned good. She dares to do something totally different and also has the admissibility opportunity and the will to experiment. I’m sometimes disappointed that it has a lot to do with the solvent situation but young designers are a little bit less daring today. I over they’re still daring when they graduate and when they’re at philosophy, but afterwards, they’re easily taken away into a approachable of more commercial pace, because they’re also a toy bit false. That is, of course, a pity. I’m waiting for some original voices from the younger generations at the moment. especially from the late-model graduates. Of course, it’s also a question of surviving, but I think it’s pure important that you have a recognizable product and a recognizable prompting.”
Van Beirendonck feels that it is normal for most designers to question their own voice. “I want to push forward my own boundaries, to go then again, experiment, and try things out. Of course, then you’re also critical and now you start to doubt. It’s always just before the presentation: Is it proof enough? Did I do the right thing? Once it’s on the catwalk and you’ve got reactions and in the flesh do like it, it’s over and you can believe in yourself again. But it’s a very vulnerable process, creating a collection.”
Whilst at the Foundation Loui Vuitton Farnk Gehry’s Art Museum we met his wife Davy and these shots were taken by Gracie Opulanza the female medium for menswear.