In a cryptic message acting as the collection’s show notes, WvB discusses subcultures and how they are “over.” The note reads: “Heard someone say the other day that subcultures are over. Kids don’t have enough time or patience to hang around for something to actually stick, they said. Not enough time to stay mad at one thing or bored long enough. TO REVOLT. No more exciting new music (sub?!)genres either. I would like for them to come rock out with their P-COCK out. BALL(S) OUT! Meet us at a NEON SHADOW gig… Where P-COCKS, DREAMERS, HEROES and PUNKS UNITE. We stubbornly resist the blandness of sleeping masses. We sit with magical monsters. Dance with grotesque gnomes. We pluck miracles out of each bead of our sweat before they evaporate into grey skies. WHO WANTS TO BE INOFFENSIVE? Feel it all. The Pleasure. The Pain. We fluff and bulk and tie up & down. Our coats our caps our corsets. Celebrating our freedom. Like Les Incroyables. We DIY. Proudly pin wondrous things to our beautiful skin. WE GO FULL FRONTAL whenever we can we cover ourselves with stars, when censored. (But they know it’s still there, right? RIGHT????) We stop running from our shadows. We need to know NOW. Do we fall apart or DO WE DREAM UNDER THE SAME SKY?”
Despite its intensity, there’s quite a lot to deconstruct and take from the designer’s message. More a call to action to be ourselves and explore subcultures, creative realms, and to fulfill our wildest dreams, WvB asks us to join him in the “Neon Shadow.” This is a place filled with color and joy, undertones of punk and a world that revolts against conformity — and the SS22 collection is exactly this.
In his usual ways, “Neon Shadow” is a collection of bold colors, daring silhouettes or designs, and a place for self-expression and experimentation. Mask-clad models are decked in suits: one is orange with shorts, one is pink with flared trousers, and the other one is green in the same cut as the pink iteration. A pair of neon pink harem pants look baggy and as if they’re made from a plastic bin liner-like material, while shirts are paneled in various colors and are harnessed with.. well, a harness.
All of this contrasts with the black formal shoes that are then outlandishly converted into something joyous thanks to the luminous lightning bolts that grace the mid-panels. Yet, socks add another touch of madness, trousers with cut-outs confuse the eye, and then skin-tight pieces covered in phallic-displaying gnomes is a subverted twist on something that should be whimsical.
We expect nothing less from Walter van Beirendonck, and “Neon Shadow” is rather excellent. Take a look at the lookbook above.
In case you missed it, check out the latest collection from Rick Owens.