For winter 2012 Belgian designer Walter Van Beirendonck called his collection, ‘Lust never Sleeps’ and continued his venture into sartorial menswear – the current chronicle of the season. However, Van Beirendonck performed his story, through his individualistic approach of subverting classic tailoring with evocative S&M references.
Black models wore candy coloured suits that corresponded with the expert cutting skills seen elsewhere on the men’s catwalks. Jolted to life and threatening from another dimension, Van Beirendonck styled his smart wares with warrior voodoo masks. Conversing a subtext of sexual fetishism, Beirendonck was on the prowl. Was this recreation between convention and subversion, Van Beirendonck questioning the barriers in menswear or simply a nod to the dress codes of S&M?
Whatever the message behind the collection, Van Beirendonck presented some interesting propositions for next season. Models cocooned in mohair, head to toe in green leather waders and sporting checked hot pants were just some of the concepts on offer for Van Beirendonck’s masters – or are they slaves? While the subtext of the collection may have been considered disturbing, Van Beirendonck’s collection was energetic and upbeat. Who suggested a warrior dressed in a pink gimp mask would appear threatening?
Beirendonck’s menswear collections often fuse a hedonistic mix of violence, colour and humour. Sometimes loud, but characteristically daring and innovative, his clothes are always very personal and his opinions evocative. This season Beirendonck’s exploration of sex and suits confirms the designer is still raising gender questions and masculinity within fashion - and the fashion landscape is very much richer because of it.