Known for his quicky leanings, Walter Van Beirendonck bought his fair share of wackiness to Paris Fashion Week Men’s with “Wild is the Wind,” shown in a stark white warehouse in the 16th arrondissement. To open proceedings, a Nina Simone track of the same name rang out, punctuated by soundbites of a gale, which whistled through the space. It signaled sombre things to come, but the collection that followed was anything but.
This season, Van Beirendonck went high-vis. Bright pops of reflective neon ran through the collection in strips, giving garments cage-like structure. It was a study of colour contrasts: fluorescent yellow, orange and white were paired against royal blues, black and tan leather and Prince of Wales check. The practical met the impractical as weatherproof coats and formal jackets had panels removed to reveal skin beneath. Sportswear fabrication fused with traditional suiting in unexpected ways. Crucially, each piece was technically beautiful, with strong tailoring and clean lines.
The designer is nothing if not playful, as his prints clearly attest. Ducks, donkeys, oversized stripes and two particularly Halloween-ready bodysuits, replete with (very anatomically incorrect) bones, made their way into the collection. Once again, this season Van Beirendonck collaborated with Russian eyewear label Fakbyfak to complete each look with bug-eyed, equally glow-in-the-dark shades.
Injecting much needed humour and colour into a week that radiates French nonchalance, the collection backed up the silliness with serious attention to detail and high quality construction. For what it’s worth, the wind may be wild, but so is Van Beirendonck.