Welcome to the Weird and Wonderful World of Walter van Beirendonck FW23
The designer takes to Paris Fashion Week with a collection that wants to save the world.
As one of the leading members of the Belgian cohort the Antwerp Six, Walter van Beirendonck‘s shows are expected to be monumental. Of course, the designer didn’t just live up to expectations for Fall/Winter 2023, he exceeded them.
Centered around the message “WE NEED NEW EYES TO SEE THE FUTURE,” WvB took his Paris Fashion Week moment to be fun, political, avant-garde, boundary-pushing, and inspirational. While this is nothing new for the designer, who often plays with such themes, FW23 put these ideologies right in your face.
Cycling jerseys in a soft palette of pale pink and sky blue worked in tandem with slogans like “Save the Future,” “No War,” and “Peace,” as futuristic folklore depictions of unicorn donkeys and multicolored eyes graced the rest of the body. Likewise, the designer draws the eye to his name and the word “WoW,” comprising of his initials and a bullseye on another skintight piece that has its eyes set on the future — specifically 3057.
With David Bowie’s “Five Years” as the soundtrack the green-fingered messaging became increasingly poignant, but that doesn’t mean WvB can’t have fun. On the feet of every look was a different take on his signature Hyper Glam Boot, coming with a narrative and character across each colorway. From snakeskin effects to ones that looked, well, like snakes, the towering tiptoers acted as the perfect offset for some of the designer’s more subtle looks.
Albeit, they weren’t all that subtle. T-shirt dresses and jumpers were aplenty, but it was the ones intarsia knitted with snakes and dragons that brought a smile to the showgoers’ faces. Similarly, opening looks that comprised rather standard garments — such as tailored checkered suits, black tech jackets, and graphic green skin-tight tops — were covered in hockey puck-esque inflatables, puncturing the fabric and the model’s head with their buoyant volume.
For those who fear the designer isn’t wearable, perhaps glossy leather two-pieces are more your thing. Multiple sets showcased WvB’s versatility as a designer, who can create even more relaxed looks while still shifting the norms. For example, overshirts and baggy trousers sported epaulette wings on them, giving the pieces three-dimensional movement, while those who don’t want to opt for a full second skin bodysuit can cover up with one of the designer’s new layering essentials — maxi and box pleat skirts.
To complete the visionary’s FW23 collection, suits cut with skeletal rib cages, bubble wrap chore jackets, and a wide array of face coverings and sunglasses completed the designer’s wacky world, culminating in a walk of succession lead by the designer marching to Oliver Sim’s “Fruit.”
Take a look at Walter van Beirendonck’s FW23 collection in the gallery above, and find more Paris Fashion Week FW23 content across Hypebeast.
ICYMI, check out Wales Bonner’s PFW-opening FW23 collection.