Thursday, January 17, 2013

BEAUTY: Clothing--Walter Van Beirendonck

"Shut Your Eyes To See." This is what Walter Van Beirendonck titled his Fall-Winter '13-'14 collection shown yesterday at Paris Fashion Week. Of this collection, Van Beirendonck said, "The world is so overwhelming that you need to look into yourself. Find your own identity, that's what matters. And you have to protect it."

And Van Beirendonck's stated identity for this collection is none other than the chameleon himself, The Thin White Duke, David Bowie (as an aside, I don't think there is a single person who has inspired more menswear designers than Bowie). It's a bit ironic that Van Beirendonck encourages us to look inward and find our own singular identity, yet he emulates a rock and roll legend. As figures to emulate, Bowie is not a bad choice. And it is Bowie, make no mistake. It is obvious in the iconic "Aladdin Sane" lightning bolt in Lurex on sports coats and the glam touches like sparkly suits and platform boots in metallic leather and mustard python (I'll take one in each color please!). Also inspired by Bowie, but in an abstract way, are the "satellite" ear and hand ornaments ("Space Oddity"), some with built-in lips, tinsel-fringe embellished jackets, and odd geometric faces on coats and sweaters. But quite oblique--and frankly puzzling-- is the heavy presence of argyle and the "Arthur Dent"-ish bathrobes which closed the show. Perhaps Van Beirendonck associates argyle with the UK (and rightly so since argyle comes from Clan Campbell's tartan design) and thus Bowie's homeland? But how to explain the sad bedsit bathrobes (albeit with Lurex appliqués and satin lining)?
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