Walter Van Beirendonck, W:A.R. (Walter About Rights), 2020

The Belgian fashion designer Walter Van Beirendonck (*1957) has fundamentally altered the way we view menswear. As one of the “Antwerp Six”, he helped to put Belgium on the fashion map in the 1980s with his daring, punk aesthetic and sexually provocative silhouettes. London was an early source of inspiration, as he was working to realise in clothing what the city had been doing to music since the late 70s: tearing it down from its lofty heights and putting a noisy attitude in its place. Van Beirendonck has also been an influential teacher, and since 2007 has been the director of the fashion department at Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts. Throughout his career, he has kept one foot squarely in the world of art, evidenced by collaborations with the likes of Orlan and Erwin Wurm, and a series of exhibitions, among them the groundbreaking show he assembled under the title “Surreal Things: Surrealism and Design”, which opened at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam in 2007, and later travelled to the Victoria & Albert in London, and, more recently, “Powermask”, a thematic exhibition picking up on his enthusiasm for masks at the Wereldmuseum in Rotterdam in 2018. His exhibition “W:A.R. Walter About Rights”, a selection of his own couture-inspired work, took place at the Galerie Polaris in Paris in early 2020. 

– This special contribution appears in Spike #64. You can buy it in our online shop –