Endangered Species

Walter Van Beirendonck FW19
Fashion | 17 January 2019

Walter Van Beirendonck’s MO has always been about action and speaking truth; controversy and conversation enveloped in the wild and wacky echelon of the fashion world. Like a mask, or better yet ‘armour’, the Belgian designer’s work revolves around hybrid creatures that creep into reality through embroidery, patterning, and wild styling.

His FW19 ‘Wow: The Meltdown Collection” was a no-holds-barred take on all of the above – dripping with colour as models looked as though they’d been in a fight with the Dulex colour chart. Brightly coloured, they walked with peacock tufts of hair abstractly placed atop hairdos and faces – like one of Noel Fielding’s zany Mighty Boosh personalities. Layers, layers and more layers were the aim of the game as one look resembled a walking graffiti mural; from sweater, to bike shorts, to tights, to moonboots. Shards of glitter cut through the rainbow palette, while additional shearling gave an imposing feel to exaggerated collar work and hoods – even gimp masks got a look in.

Outerwear was padded, almost as if silk pillows were strapped for extra protection, emblazed with slogans such as “WOW” and “Endangered Species”, caricatures, and – most notably – two big eyes, which could be an ode to George Orwell’s 1984 ‘Big Brother’ dogma. Are we the endangered species? Have we turned into monsters? Cartoons? Is this the dystopian universe? The hidden meanings in Beirendonck’s “melting” world perhaps aren’t so hidden after all. Everything is now excessive and staring you right in the face – the keynote is to pay attention.

GALLERYCatwalk looks from this show