“Stop Terrorising Our World” – day one into Paris and boom, there goes a reaction to the atrocities that happened in this city two weeks ago. Van Beirendonck isn’t one to shy away from a statement (remember his AW14 show as a comment on racism) and this one will be especially pertinent. “We have the need and the right to have beautiful things around us – increasingly people are not given the opportunity to see these things,” he said after the show. And so, in his own form of rebellion, Walter produced an outpour of beauty in language and craft, with whimsical and uplifting aesthetic treats and strong appliqués protesting: “Demand Beauty” and “Warning: Explicit Beauty”. And as boys stomped down the catwalk to the sounds of Death Grips and Ghost Culture, adorned with Egyptian eyes and a mish-mash of textures, we were reminded that beauty comes in all forms. And embracing them all is one step towards a better day.
Craft = Love:
The provocative show was juxtaposed with an intimate salon setting. We were there to see the clothes up close and there was plenty to see: Ikat prints with Walter himself worked into the patterns, knitted sculptures with collages, embroidered slogans with accompanying pictures, and in a more delicate note, beautiful pencil drawings which graced the backs of calico panelled jackets and coats, all adorned with 3D printed jewellery. Crafting labours of love is definitely one way of peace signing at the world.
People immediately jumped to assuming the collection referred to what happened at the French newspaper Charlie Hebdo, but Van Beirendonck was also making reference to the artist Paul McCarthy and the removal of his installation from Place Vendôme back in October, a Christmas tree that many thought it resembled a giant butt plug. “He was really limited in expression,” said Van Beirendonck. It calls into question the idea of having a thought police out there, with social media driving critique from all corners of the globe – in very 1984 fashion. Is everything becoming too sanitised or too politically correct for its own good?