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Owls Whisper: SS18 with Walter Van Beirendonck at Paris Fashion Week

July 18, 2017

Fashion | by Ross Pollard


Candid Magazine interviewed Walter Van Beirendonck for its current print issue – Issue 15, The Luxury Issue, while he was working on his latest collection. The legendary Belgian designer was putting together the collection that would once again wow the fashion world with his bold and experimental garments. The models, in their long pastel wigs, brought forward one of the most progressive and forward-thinking collections of the season.

Walter Van Beirendonck SS18, photograph by Ronald Stoops
Walter Van Beirendonck SS18, photograph by Ronald Stoops
Walter Van Beirendonck SS18, photograph by Ronald Stoops

One of van Beirndonck’s great strengths is his very personal fashion vision, which he mixes with the mind of an art scholar and the skills of a precision tailor. The block colour long coats made a seamless transition into the other themes on display: a deconstructed and edgy take on the tradition of men’s suiting, the shining space age feel of the metallic looks and the prints. Oh the prints…

Walter Van Beirendonck SS18, photograph by Ronald Stoops
Walter Van Beirendonck SS18, photograph by Ronald Stoops
Walter Van Beirendonck SS18, photograph by Ronald Stoops
Walter Van Beirendonck SS18, photograph by Ronald Stoops

The dexterity of their use was incredible; from the almost collage-like painted and understated patterns, via the futuristic representations of the human form to the playful almost cubist takes on the face and animals, they each conveyed an independent feel yet somehow remained knitted together.

Walter Van Beirendonck SS18, photograph by Ronald Stoops
Walter Van Beirendonck SS18, photograph by Ronald Stoops

Walter Van Beirendonck SS18, photograph by Ronald Stoops

It may come as a surprise to find the collection was called Owls Whisper. There is little that seems to fit the title at first glance, however under the bright cloth remains the heart of an unspoken joie and vivre. At the risk of a bad pun, it’s an absolute hoot.

Walter Van Beirendonck SS18, photograph by Ronald Stoops
Walter Van Beirendonck SS18, photograph by Ronald Stoops
Walter Van Beirendonck SS18, photograph by Ronald Stoops
Walter Van Beirendonck SS18, photograph by Ronald Stoops
Walter Van Beirendonck SS18, photograph by Ronald Stoops

But look further past the extravagant styling and runway presentation and something very clever is going on here. While each look is a statement, each can been seen in the form of the wearable, the rainy spring in the long coats, a night out in the city in the suiting, or strolling to brunch in the more casual tops. It nods at one of the things I love most about Walter Van Beirendonck; he brings drama to the everyday world we live in. And with the touch of Bowie about these looks, who wouldn’t want that? I know I want that light blue jumper with the fabulous fox.

Walter Van Beirendonck SS18, photograph by Ronald Stoops
Walter Van Beirendonck SS18, photograph by Ronald Stoops
Walter Van Beirendonck SS18, photograph by Ronald Stoops
Walter Van Beirendonck SS18, photograph by Ronald Stoops