Walter Van Beirendonck
A pioneering designer in Belgium’s fashion community, Royal Academy of Fine Arts alumnus Walter Van Beirendonck is a venerated member of the Antwerp Six—that avant-garde brat pack of sorts, which redefined the local look and carved out a promising fashion capital during the early ’80s. Revered for his colorful palettes and playful use of patterns, Van Beirendonck’s aesthetic has attracted Swedish home stalwarts Ikea, who’ve since collaborated on an exclusive collection, GLÖDANDE, launching June 1.
Fall ’16 Menswear
The designer developed this range like he develops fashion, first collecting inspirational images and words, and reflecting on his own home’s eclectic paintings and collectibles. GLÖDANDE, or “glowing,” will feature everything from paper stationery to shopping bags, rugs to porcelain and pillows—all products, of course, imbued with Van Beirendonck’s signature whimsy.
Designs are built around a gang of otherworldly characters, whom appear through the collection like protagonists in a fairytale. Van Beirendonck calls these creatures “WONDERMOOI,” a community faced with holes forming in their beloved cloud home, as they watch earthly wars rage on, below—a relevant conflict, touching on peace and environmental issues, which they help solve by spreading cloud dust.
GLÖDANDE’s thematic undertones align with Van Beirendonck’s fashion collections, most of which have centered on world issues throughout his career. The designer’s fall ’16 lineup, called “WOEST” or “furious” in flemish, reflected his anti-establishment perspective—one that’s inspired ranges about everything from safe sex to warfare. “I’m a pacifist,” he told Vogue. “But really, I want to punch someone in the face,” that “someone,” likely referring to a political leader.
Despite such serious (and admirable) intentions, Van Beirendonck’s work is always marked by a cartoonish look, as shown through GLÖDANDE’s wondrous, childlike appeal. See a preview, below: