May 11, 2010

The Wonderful World of Walter Van Beirendonck

There is much to be said about the fluorescent world of Walter Van Beirendonck. His designs are more than whimsical, bold, and unconventional - Walter brings back the fun in fashion. The re-staging of the 'WONDE®' collection was met with an eccentric audience comprised of fans, insiders, bloggers, and BEARS. Van Beirendonck is known for casting and designing for the larger, harrier homosexual, thus, the runway show is less about cold pouting and more about warm hugs. I arrived at the show and immediately noticed a difference from the normal fashion show waiting game: people were smiling at each other and complimenting outfits, COLOR COLOR COLOR, and double-cheek-kisses weren't backed with a bitch slap from the eyes. It was a diverse crowd that wore their individuality and quirkiness without hesitation or guilt, which is really the kind of attitude and bravado one must posses to pull off Van Beirendonck's creations.

The circular runway surrounded bright, traffic-cone-orange hills. I am happy to have seen just that instead of the traditional linear catwalk. This was the perfect setting for bears clad in short shorts and croc-printed tailored clothing. The grip tape on the large center piece suggested frolicking, but I suppose it would have been a little haphazard, and would take away attention from the clothing. There are many subtle details within each design that are striking and fun. For instance, I want the low-cut jumpsuit with all the little pockets in all the right places. Imagine the freedom of a feather weight, sky-blue polo that says "HI" to/for you! Take note of the strong graphics in a sea of bright colors. I understand the fans that came clad in Van Beirendonck; Walter is not about high (nosed) fashion, he is about "Hi, Fashion!" The show was loud in a variety of ways, and everyone present got the message.

The final parade of bears in their birthday suits was a special treat that I never thought I would be able to witness. You can research past shows, or analyze his design philosophy, but the atmosphere created by Van Beirendonck on the runway is something to be experienced. My favorite part of the evening as a whole, apart from the smoking hot man candy on the runway the fashion, was the warmth and happiness of the bear community of the Bay Area. When was the last time you heard cheering from the audience, or saw winks and laughter from the models on the runway of a high profile fashion show?! All in attendance saw an iconic moment deserving of the standing ovation it received. Thank you, Walter Van Beirendonck, for making fashion fun.


A very special thank you to to Lindsey Shook for making all of this possible. You bring the best to the Bay!

- jerome

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