No Censors – Walter Van Beirendonck Paris Fashion Week 2015-16
Belgian designer Walter Van Beirendonck has, over the history of his career, charted a singular avant garde course. He is an original member of the group collectively known as the Antwerp 6 including Martin Margiela, Ann Demeulemeester, Dirk Bikkemberg, Gus Van Saene, Dries Van Noten and Mariana Yee. Since his graduation from the Royal Academy of Antwerp Fashion Department and the launch of his first collection in 1983 he has created a specific fashion universe based on innovative use of textiles, and a powerful and dynamic sense of graphism united by an ever changing flamboyant color palette.
The first look to emerge on the designer’s fall/winter 2015 Paris collection was a lithe model with the embroidered message “Stop terrorizing our world” encased in a clear pvc shirt followed by a "An eye for an eye ends up making the whole world blind”. These were a clear response in the designer’s typically playful and irreverent fashion to the terrorist attacks on Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris, an event that fell shortly before Fashion Week. Speaking about the collection he acknowledged the need to designers to have some reaction to the event and called his fashion show an exhortation for the right of freedom of expression.
The color palette was the riotous graphic blend for which he is justly famed. The construction was impeccable, with blazers defying their slim lines to reveal sculpted volumes along the arms and shoulders, next to oversized woven overcoats. Trousers were cast in delicate pastel tones with simple but elegant cutting. Playful pieces emerged in the collages of fabric sculptures, appearing like deconstructed stuffed toys sprayed across garments.
Whilst not revolutionary in his oeuvre, it was a collection that showed the designer’s singular consistency and skill, where humor meets a politicized social conscience cast in beautiful colors and patterns with the exceptional cutting and finishing that characterizes his work.