The word 'show' has many meanings - to convey an idea, to direct or guide, to support or affirm, and most of all to physically display something. All of those meanings can be assigned to a fashion show - alongside the very basic interpretation of a simple catwalk 'show'. How then, can we interpret Bernhard Willhelm's 'show' - eschewing the catwalk in favour of a chaotic, ramshackle presentation of tableaux vivants, holed up in the Bourse, the Paris Stock Exchange. Snagging a venue such as this at a troubled time may have lead us to believe Willhelm would make a point about the international monetary crises that have gripped the world for the past two years, impacting on many a fashion collection in more than just the black-and-white sense of ledger books and balance-sheets. But no: instead Willhelm opted to turn Japanese (at least I think so) mocking up his own psychotropic tea ceremonies and geisha girls smeared in make-up and clad in crazed reinterpretations of Japanese print textiles and traditional kimono fabrics. Perhaps the show was an homage to his ever-loyal Ganguro gaggle of Japanese fans, always willing to clad themselves in whatever crazy clobber Bernie deems fit to cook up next, but to be honest the inspiration could have been anything. This was another formulaic reinterpretation of Willhelm's classic archive - including a few semi-fetish underwear-styled bodysuits for the boys, one of which Willhelm himself donned to writhe about on the floor to a screeching electronic soundtrack. That was another type of 'show' entirely. Undoubtedly there were more questions than answers in this interminable freak-out of a collection, but the most important was: if Willhelm is really hoping to break out of his terribly comfortable niche and appeal to a wider audience, does he honestly feel these clothes, and these shenanigans, are the ticket? The answer is sadly no, and it's a shame to see the limitations Willhelm seems to be placing on his undeniable talent.
This was another formulaic reinterpretation of Willhelm's classic archive - including a few semi-fetish underwear-styled bodysuits for the boys.