East meets West, Op Art versus karate, utopia and reality, Walter van Beirendonck's feeling dreamy and he'll leave you high and dry.
If last season’s very literal proclamation of anti-racism represented a moment of reality for the otherwise so out-of-this-world Walter van Beirendonck, his spring/summer 15 collection promoted the dream. Rarely has the designer put on such a deliberate display of sumptuous beauty as the graceful floral brocade jackets and kimono-like suits he sent down the runway in Tuesday’s show in Paris. There was an old-world colonial opulence about uniform-like jackets with gold tassels and carved-out motifs, which was only backed up by the addition of Far-East Asian elements such as karate belts and Chinese style trousers, like the colonial meeting between two polar cultures. Towards the end, the two merged into a kind of futuristic hybrid in the shape of Op Arty bodysuits with shark and machine gun paintings and the word ‘Whambam!’ splashed across a t-shirt. For van Beirendonck, it could easily have signified the destruction of paradise: the West’s cynical exploitation of faraway lands, like a one-night stand leaving them high and dry. Whambam, thank you, ma’am. Dreamy, though.