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Monday, January 26, 2009

Paris Men's Week: Walter Van Beirendonck

By Daryoush Haj-Najafi...

In many ways, Belgian cyber-bear Walter Van Beirendonck is a fashion prophet. His work was initially ignored by the mainstream press, then largely forgotten, but now he's fated as a demigod by anyone with aesthetic aspirations. He's also a teacher, another prophet-like quality. Then there's his bearded daddy look.

The earlier part of Van Beirendonck's fall 09 show, held at Boulevard Voltaire's Cafe Ba-Ta-Clan, consisted of mid-90s, almost Prada-like suits in brown tonics that proved he can cut. Then came metallic floral prints on trousers and extensive use of thick piping to construct hats, plus that graphic penis-equipped torso that's practically Van Beirendonck's logo. Among other retro-futurist moments were mega knitwear that looked crazy academic and a lot of burnt orange.

Most successful were the hybrid moments, like the mohair-y sparkle knits in chloroform green that looked seriously new, along with his trademark knitted hoodies and ponchos, as well as printed tees—all featuring that iconic torso with a penis or blown-up face design. Tracksuit bottoms with radar-like targets emblazoned across the bum made clear that Van Beirendonck retains his mastery of making cheek chic.

Walter Van Beirendonck

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