One of the iconic Antwerp Six, Walter Van Beirendonck is by no means an emerging fashion rookie. Instead, the Belgian designer’s bold and unusual color decisions, punctuated by graphic flair, is now a reference point for many new designers looking to emulate his knack for inspired design. In this reinterpretation of his Fall/Winter 2017 show, H7o7Films (a Parisian production company headed by Hadi Moussally and Olivier Pagny) showcased Van Beirendonck’s medieval surrealism through a Technicolor and Warholian lens.
The designer’s recent show was marked by seasonal notoriety with the disturbing addition of massively, over-sized gloves. Removing that theatricality in the H7o7Films’s edit, we’re left to witness the interesting pastiche that is this menswear collection. “Zwart,” the Dutch word for, “black,” was clearly embroidered onto leather clutches. With the red letter, “W,” separating the word into two parts, it appears as if Beirondonck is heralding the end of art. Indeed, highlighted by Moussally’s and Pagny’s hyper-saturated colors and computer-aided repetition, the visuals feel intentionally superficial and inauthentic. The nobility of the flowered wolf motif, a reference to heraldry of the Middle Ages, seems lost and diluted in the canary yellow top, appearing more akin to the banality of a sports jersey.
Though Beirondonck seems pessimistic, what people define as art and imbue with meaning is a decision to be made by each individual. His foreboding prophecy bears no merit if the viewer disagrees. With this series, H7o7Films has channeled the postmodern spirit of Warhol — producing images that are provokingly ambiguous. Utter trash or clever statement? It’s your call to make.