Walter Van Beirendonck (opens in new tab) is one of fashion's true mavericks. Graduating from Belgium's Royal Arts Academy (opens in new tab) in 1980, he was one of the illustrious 'Antwerp Six' - alongside Dries Van Noten (opens in new tab), Dirk Bikkembergs (opens in new tab), Ann Demeulemeester (opens in new tab), Marina Yee and Dirk Van Saene (opens in new tab) (his partner of 30 years) - who together disseminated a radical new aesthetic and placed Antwerp firmly on the fashion map. Now the
Antwerp Fashion Museum (MoMu) (opens in new tab) is celebrating the 54-year-old designer's three decades at the cutting edge with the first ever large-scale retrospective of his work, entitled 'Dream the World Awake'.
Describing himself as a 'storyteller' who has always conceived his catwalk shows in tandem with his collections - rather than as an afterthought - Van Beirendonck never shies away from combining politics with fashion, tackling issues like the destruction of the Amazon rainforest, Aids and mass consumerism. The MoMu exhibition looks back at some of his notable triumphs, including his spectacular shows in Paris in the 1990s under the W.&L.T. (Wild and Lethal Trash) label as well as various projects beyond the catwalk - such as designing the costumes for U2 (opens in new tab)'s PopMart tour in 1997.
Van Beirendonck has collaborated with stylist Simon Foxton and photographer and SHOWstudio.com (opens in new tab) founder Nick Knight to create a new photography and video project especially for the exhibition. A hardback 240-page exhibition catalogue will also be available through Lannoo Publishers (opens in new tab) (Dutch) and ACC (English), its arresting contents revealing a designer whose work can be playful, iconoclastic and unsettling - but never boring.
Fashion Museum Province of Antwerp - MoMu
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