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Polaroid obsessions: Walter Van Beirendonck

Shaved heads, facepaint and headdresses – here's the designer's backstage photo diary

For menswear AW14, we gave FujiFilm Instax cameras and a roll of film to industry insiders – from models, to designers and our own editors – to capture the magic as they saw it. For the next week, we’ll be sharing their photo diaries. First up, it’s designer and repeat provocateur Walter Van Beirendonck.

When Walter Van Beirendonck agreed to open us a window onto his world through a handful of snaps, what exactly were we expecting to see? Whether a subtle sexual charge, like that of last season’s genitalia adorned shoes, would underpin his photos we couldn’t be sure, but a surrealism and fearless use of colour were givens.

The results are in, and show a backstage atmosphere as fizzing with statement and excitement as the collection we saw on the catwalk. A shot of transformation in action shows a model having "NO RACISM" shaved into the back of his head; another sees clumps of hair abandoned on the floor. Antwerp make-up artist Inge Grognard’s red face painted model stares from the gloom of a hazy exposure.

As we reel from two weeks of perfectly executed shows and pristine catwalks, Van Beirendonck’s photos remind us that the real magic happens behind the scenes – in all its grainy haste.

With special thanks to Fujifilm for the Instax Mini 8 camera.