Bernhard Willhelm

The invitation to Bernhard Willhelm’s show came with a child-like drawing of a penis, and the words “hart” (German for hard) and “schwanz” (dick) scribbled on another postcard.


And to make sure we understood the designer had male genitalia on his mind, the entrance to the venue was decorated with a mammoth urn brimming with…bananas. What followed was a wild, relentless celebration of gayness, suggested by tattered and fringed sportswear occasionally printed with a highway pattern and the word “transit” (get it?), or more overtly expressed with a headband reading “I love black cock.” Ironically, it was a gorgeous tiger-printed pink tracksuit that almost stole the show.

By the time the puckish designer took his bow—sporting long hair similar to his models’—the message was clear. Leaving behind the beefy, porn-standard hunks of previous shows, Willhelm is currently exploring gay sex through lanky and bearded guru types. The fun-filled show expressed a freedom, an independence, and a devil-may-care attitude that is increasingly rare in fashion.

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