Paris Runway FW15: Walter Van Beirendonck

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EXPLICIT was the title of Walter Van Beirendonck’s FW15 collection, and as the first models strode out among the salons of the Hotel Evereux in clear vinyl smocks with WARNING EXPLICIT BEAUTY and STOP TERRORIZING OUR WORLD emblazoned across the front it seemed as if Van Beirendonck was spelling things out for us quite literally. However, as the show progressed the looks layered on more references to the explicit as the models donned coats, jackets, and sweaters that were Van Beirendonck’s signature miss mash of riotous patterns, fabrics and textures.

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Especially of note were the eagle and butt plug motifs which adorned the necklaces that finished off each look. They seemed to be a nod to the Greek myth of Zeus (in eagle form) and Ganymede. The story’s homoerotic subtext has taken on many different depictions through out art history. Having a butt plug chained to an eagle in Van Beirendonck’s reiteration echoes the abstraction in Robert Rauschenberg’s painting/sculpture where he represents Ganymede as a pillowy buttocks. Riotous colors colors and pattern have always been a Van Beirendonck signature and in this collection they took on the context of being a visually explicit yell in contrast to the wave of norm-core dressing that has taken over fashion of late. This collection explicitly communicates that no matter the changing tides of fashion Van Beirendonck remains one of menswear’s most whimsical and delightful designers.

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*photos by Matthew Reeves for Gallery Aesthete