Last week I met Walter Van Beirendonck! Van Beirendonck is one of the Antwerp Six, the group of designers that in 1986 traveled to London together to present their collections, establishing Antwerp as a notable fashion city. While I was at UGA I researched him for a paper about the Antwerp fashion. It was really exciting to spot him in the city!
In November 2011, with Liz and James when they were here visiting, we went to Van Beirendonck’s exhibition at the Mode Museum (MoMu, Fashion Museum).
Here is an excerpt from the WVB Dream the World Awake (14/09/2011 – 19/02/2012) exhibit:
Over the last three decades, Walter Van Beirendonck has built an impressive international career. As the maverick of Antwerp fashion, he is famed for his colourful collections, his completely unique perception of beauty, his spectacular fashion shows and the socially critical themes touched on in his designs.
In 1980, Van Beirendonck graduated from the fashion department of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp. Three years later, he began with a collection under his own name. In 1986, he and five of his fellow students from the academy presented collections at the British Designer Show in London, where the British press took note of them and branded them ‘The Antwerp Six’.
In addition to designing his own collections, Van Beirendonck continues to design for other houses and labels, such as ZulupaPUWA for JBC, as well as working on projects in art, theatre and music. His most important collaboration was perhaps from 1993 to 1999, with Mustang, the German jeans manufacturers, for whom he designed the W.&L.T. (Wild & Lethal Trash) line for the rapidly developing youth market. For W.&L.T, Van Beirendonck developed a new aesthetic, one in which he could combine his fascination for technology, high-tech materials, multimedia and experimentation with sharp, critical statements.
Van Beirendonck has also been a highly valued asset at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, initially as a teacher and since 2007 as director of the fashion department.
Philip’s Biscuits, the best cookie store in Antwerp, made a huge Walter Van Beirendonck cookie in honor of the exhibition!