Friday, 22 November 2013
Walter Van Beirendonck - Wild & Lethal Trash
Since 1983, he issues his own collections. They are inspired by the visual arts, literature, nature and ethnic influences. His unusual color combinations and a strong graphic influence are characteristic for his collections.
One of his most known works was when he styled for U2's Popmart tour. Those who lived the glory of the 90's would never forget his iconic BLOW-UP muscle-jackets.
I researched online why a very different and creative brand like W< would close down during the period where his aesthetic for fashion was in. From an interview he said that the company's backer, Mustang, tried to get involved with the brand's image. He later on decided to step out of it. That's what happens when the corporate fucks with creativity.
I have so much respect for Walter Van Beirendonck as a designer. From an interview, he was asked who he is as a designer and how he described his designs. He said:
"Despite the fact that the first impression you get when looking at my collections is of color and fun, I do invest a lot of energy and research in the stories I want to tell, the statements I want to make, and the messages I want to communicate. So there is always a second (more loaded) layer in the collection. This makes me a designer with a recognizable signature, one who is ready to push the boundaries. I am not afraid to do it my way."
I think his style caters to a specific crowd or to a specific period of time. From all the colors and the prints that exploded in Fashion weeks last year and this year, his fashion designs are now in trend again. It's just the right time for his works to be celebrated again. Just recently, Antwerp Fashion Museum opened an exhibit for his timeless clothes (before, during, and after W<). It covered 30 years of his works. Amazing! I really wish I saw the gallery in person.
Dazed Digital: Just a few years after gradating, you launched the infamous 90s label Wild & Lethal Trash. What was the idea behind that?
Walter Van Bierendonck: The jeans company Mustang approached me when street fashion first started to establish itself, and I went to see the company with my portfolio. They were amazed by the street fashion look that I showed them and gave me the opportunity to create a youth line inside the company. It started as a streetwear project and ended as a high-end designer line.
DD: What was its appeal?
WVB: I think it was the right feeling and the right product at the right moment. That period was about experimenting and looking towards the future in a bright way and it fitted really well into that generation. Eventually Wild & Lethal Trash became a victim of the 'Prada Sport period' - the end of the 90s when everything became dark again. Then the style was totally minimal, nylon and black, and the company behind W< wanted me to move in that direction. Eventually, I stepped out of the company and left everything behind me. It was a decision about whether to take the money or go for creativity.