Each season, when Walter Van Beirendonck sends out his coveted invitations, like clockwork, the speculation begins and we ask ourselves: What will the W do? So when a little less then a month ago, we could feast our eyes on the gorgeous AW2017-2018 Paul Boudens-designed posters, this time featuring stellar artwork by Wujic Jo with the word "ZWART" (meaning "black") ominously emblazoned across the top, we wondered: had human kind finally done it?
Two Winters ago, the original and most notorious Antwerp Six member asked to "STOP TERRORISING OUR WORLD". Last year Walter was "WOEST" ("furious"). Did the widely displayed lack of empathy in this world finally push the brightest of top tier designers over the edge? Had we finally engaged in enough horrible stuff that even Walter, our beloved everlasting beacon of future-positive thinking, thought there was no hope left? Was he going to send all his models (and therefore us) out in sombre and stern silhouettes because nothing is funny anymore?
Well, you thought!
As soon as the show curtains in the Parisian Rue de Lübeck-located venue opened, the crowd gasped, Stefaan unceremoniously shrieked "Krampus!" and the first model walked out to the music of Austrian Perchten band Seidä Pass wearing a gorgeous beige tweed suit with giant gloves attached to the jacket sleeves, I remember what I have known for more than half of my existence: "When life gives you Walter, you stay believing."
What came next was a slew of Walter Van Beirendonck looks fabulously styled with the help of long-time partner and fellow Antwerp Six member Dirk Van Saene, ranging from impeccably tailored pantsuits to the signature Walter overalls he loves to wear himself, next Winter they come in a camo-esque all over leaf print including a hood.
I severely dislike the word wearable, but for everyone who isn't ready yet to be gawked at by people with a lack of imagination, this might be your gateway Walter-collection. Look at these perfect buttery leather and satin bombers. Granted, they might have giant gloves attached to them, but I think that's what makes them exciting. Why would you want to spend all that money on something boring anyway? Walter stated after the show that the macro-sized gloves symbolize the healing hands we should extend to one another, which I think is beautiful, but I also think that should that gesture not be reciprocated, they are perfect to slap rude people upside their head with. You know, whatever the moment asks for.
Can we talk about accessories? If to this day, you have no actual Walter Van Beirendonck gracing your closet, consider the WVB/ZWART/DREAM THE WORLD AWAKE dad caps great starter pieces.
There are ZWART-clutches that can be worn around your biceps, people.
And in the words an other show-attendee potently posted on the W's Facebook page: "I Want Walter Pants".
The most interesting to me -and I been gagging- were Van Beirendonck's deconstructive plays on his own staples like the bombers and the 3/4 hooded coats. (How he has not yet designed wardrobe for a major comic book/super hero movie franchise, I will never know).
Before I leave you so I can realign all of my damn senses, let me repeat (so buyers can hear me):
Black leather bomber with gloves.
White Walter Woojic pants.
ZWART arm clutch.
WVB / ZWART / DREAM THE WORLD AWAKE Dad Caps.
Walter is Magic.
Thank you for having us, Sir. It's always an honour.
(side note: I am hugely in favour of a Walter Van Beirendonck x Reebok Instapump collaboration. Who do I need to sign the rights to my new ZWART-dedicated song over to in order to make this happen? Surely going to be a hit. The lyrics go: "Reach Out and Touch/Somebody's Hands/Or Sucker Slap a Hater/(Now) W's the man" - DM me for more info, She's on Instagram)
Walter Van Beirendonck 'ZWART'Autumn/Winter collection 2017-18
Music and performance by SEIDA PÄSS
Make-up by Inge Grognard & M-A-C PRO Team
Handmade gloves by Thomasine Barnekow
Show Production by Mark Vandebroeck
Dressers: Paris American Academy
Very special mention: Dirk Van Saene The W-Team: Eiko, Koen, Marie-Sophie, Ella, Paolo, Elysanne, Woojic, Stefan, Dorrith, Marlous, Oscar, Mathilde