When Ziggy Met Pablo

Walter Van Beirendonck’s show title, Owls Whisper, was cryptic, to say the least, but his inspirations seemed pretty obvious.



Indeed, the Belgian designer’s admirable career was partly triggered by his discovery of the protean figure of David Bowie in his Ziggy Stardust era. It was hard to miss the performer’s influence — the DIY-looking colorful long wigs, foil-like jumpsuits, tight pants and boots, as well as the overall lean tailored silhouette. 

Among many references to classic menswear, the show balanced child-like craftsiness with naive futurism: a forest green zippered hoodie with spiky bunny ears, tops with shoulder and torso pads recreating male musculature, outerwear pieced together by studs, and beautiful, geometric make up. The designer’s own cartoonish silhouette appeared on gleaming jacquard jackets, like something out of a cubist’s canvas.

It was a classic Van Beirendonck moment, one that, with its emphasis on jackets, made him join an ever-growing chorus of designers trumpeting their return. 

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