Having a reputation for being a fashion maverick must have its off-days. But it’s clear that the provocative Belgian designer Walter Van Beirendonck hasn’t had any trouble brewing up new ideas with his latest offering.
For his spring 2013 collection, Van Beirendonck thrust monochromatic dandies into a comic-book world of pastel hues. Starting with plaid suits and paint-splattered top hats, the ensembles gradually gave way to starched nightgowns or ice-white shorts paired with socks and garters. Even tuxedo shirts got a dressing down, with one such shirt cut away to reveal a smooth chest. Curiously, some of the more traditional fare was interspersed with models tied up in the Japanese bondage style of Kinbaku or sporting an Elizabethan ruff, which here looked more like a clown’s ruff.
Van Beirendonck himself made his final bow in a stylized white boiler suit—the signature outfit of the working class—as if to give the finger to the aristocrats that he had so neatly deconstructed and dissected over the course of his show. He’s certainly not a stranger to irony.