Unconventionality is The Word

For the first day of Paris Fashion Week Online, British luxury brand JW Anderson decided to premiere an exclusive short video in black and white. “The idea is that you can tell and experience the story in your own way. At your own pace. It’s about going back to making and telling stories,” explained the designer. 


With this idea of exploration and storytelling in mind, photographer Lewis Ronald captured multidisciplinary artist Carlos Maria Romero in a London home as he experienced the show in a box for the first time. Shot entirely in black and white, the photographs will be curated into a photo book to be released by the brand at a later date.


The British designer originally revealed his Men’s Spring/Summer 2021 collection via a phygital experience: a physical “Show in a Box” delivered to people around the world. The boxes were filled with images of both Men’s Spring/Summer 2021 and Women’s Resort 20201 collections printed on different paper stock and layered in pressed, dried flowers. Fabric swatches, cutouts of accessories and inspirational cards with embossed messages were also decorating the box.


An upbeat and fun collection, filled with his iconic bizarre proportions and a sense of nostalgia. Long lace coats with giant patch pockets were layered over poufy trousers, while tapestry and wallpaper-inspired patterns were perfectly blended into frock coats with buckles. Definitely a collection worthy of this day and age.


We Can Be Heroes: Walter Van Beirendonck Presents MIRROR

 

Since the early 80s, Walter Van Beirendonck’s unconventional, kinky style, has always been a motif of controversial discussions within the fashion industry. Inspired by literature, music and visual arts, the Belgium designer uses his collections as a tool to challenge the imagination, transporting his audience to supernatural dimensions and fantasy worlds where freedom of expression is the only language spoken. Characterised by his unusual colour combinations and strong graphic patterns, Beirendonck’s eccentric taste is true propaganda against the traditional, old-fashioned principles and gender boundaries set by society.

 

“I have realised that it’s a very specific, but universal aesthetic. Some like it a lot and some hate it, but it suits a lot of different ages, cultures, body types and types of humans, which makes me proud and happy. My clothes are more of a ​’ state of mind’. Diversity and gender fluidity were important topics in my collections from the very beginning”, the designer explains during an interview with The Face. 

 

From the Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland-themed collection presented for Spring / Summer 2017, to his Fall 2018 runway show entitled ‘The Pig’ provoking the generational hypocritical puritanism, the menswear designer's artistic touch has always differed among his colleagues. 

 

Today’s online presentation of his Spring / Summer 2021 collection called ‘MIRROR’ reveals some sort of dark atmosphere – aimed at symbolising the positive protection of evil forces, who work as our guardians in such difficult times. 


Inspired by the resourcefulness of the French couturiers of the 1940s, Beirendonck utilises eerie-looking miniature mannequins to showcase his collection – each with its own identity and style. From structured oversize jackets with mirror pockets that reinforce silhouettes, to buttoned sequin shirts and anorak from the utilitarian take, all are embellished with a different slogan – which the designer describes being reminders “to not turn away from each other or from the changes we know are desperately needed”. 


The colour palette presents accents of orange, navy blue, brown and yellow. But the real statement piece is definitely a vivid dark green feather poncho, matched with sporty shorts and calf socks, a recurrent combination in the whole collection. Leopard print also makes a comeback by being stamped on body stockings – one of Beirendonck ever-present pieces.

 

With a final statement, Walter Van Beirendonck closes his menswear collection ‘MIRROR’ inviting his audience to learn from history and avoid future disasters, to be “Heroes” of a world that for too long has fought the wrong demons. 

 

Discovering Armocromia at Berluti Spring / Summer 2021

 

Ever since his debut at Berluti in 2019, Belgian Creative Director Kris Van Assche has given to the LVMH group masculine house a contemporary spin by blending Berluti’s traditional style with his own fashion-forward vision. His incorporation of womenswear into the brand – albeit being a brave, risky move – surely paid off. 

 

For his Spring / Summer 2021 Ready-To-Wear Collection, Van Assche adapts to the challenges the world is facing by collaborating with acclaimed ceramist Brian Rochefort on a brand-new project which sets its foundations on colours harmony and coordination. 


The creative video is a behind-the-scenes of Berluti’s collection, where Van Assche is seen conversing with his partner Rochefort and offering a detailed explanation of his concept and inspiration. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the designer to talk to his audience and allow them to understand and envision the collection.

 

After two years of deeply assimilating Berluti’s identity, Van Assche is finally ready to take a third person on board and bring more inspiration to the table.


Understanding Brian’s unconventional working style and use of colours have been key for the collection’s realisation. From printing his ceramics on silk shirts, to knitting sweatshirts by hand and working with patina – Berluti’s traditional technique – to create graphical effects on shoes, the collection results in an explosion of colours that conveys cheerfulness and serenity. 


In opposition to the anxiety and depression caused by the recent pandemic news, Berluti’s will is to tune out from the outside world and enjoy the celebration and excitement that colours can instil. Although the video only showcases snaps of oversize blazers and shirts in kaleidoscopic nuances, the ready-to-wear collection will be enclosed in a portfolio and available for everyone to shop at the end of the year. 


Van Assche’s nostalgia of live runway shows is definitely identifiable through his words. However, there is a new awareness over the importance of digitalisation that is allowing designers to give a background of their collections, and which he claims to introduce to his future physical catwalks.

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