Exoskeletons were the designer’s starting point for this season’s collection.
Walter Van Beirendonck’s fall collection came as a response to today’s complex world. The designer took his main inspiration from an exoskeleton, or the external skeleton that supports and protects an animal’s body.
“It’s to protect yourself from the world, that was the starting point,” he explained. “I was really fascinated by all the machines they’re making today to make a person stronger. I wanted to play with that idea, to create a look giving extra power.”
So a series of Van Beirendonck’s garments come decorated with spikes on them. These, in turn, hold blow-up elements, which create a second layer on a person’s body, just like an exoskeleton. The designer used this technique to fascinating effect on tailored jackets and sportier wear.
Van Beirendonck pumped up the volume of coats, jackets and sleeves as well, expanding them with blow-up under-layers. Always one to play deftly with materials, he fashioned delicate jackets from a bubble-wrap-like fabric, too.
His collection was full of coated textile, often giving a patented aspect, and other novel fabrics, such as a droopy material in silver that was reminiscent of duct tape.
The skeleton motif also shone through on finely hewn sartorial garments and bomber jackets, with horizontal cutout sections running along their fronts.
Knitwear and sportswear in joyful colors were decorated with designs Van Beirendonck hand-drew — full of words, eyes, fantastical creatures and natural motifs — after seeing the famous 12th-century mosaic in Italy’s Otranto Cathedral last summer.
T-shirts were a riot of various techniques, including embroidery, prints and rhinestones.
Van Beirendonck called this season’s collection “We Need New Eyes to See the Future.” It’s clear his vision remains as sharp and unique as ever.
Walter Van Beirendonck a/w 2023/24 : WE NEED NEW EYES TO SEE THE FUTURE show Wednesday 18th January 2023 artwork WVB typo Paul Boudens.