Ever since I laid my eyes on a very colorful editorial from Pigeons and Peacocks early last year, I'd been obsessing with all the W< clothes they used for styling. I researched it online but found no clothing shop that stocks it. I later found out that W<, or Wild And Lethal Trash, only existed during the 90's. It was created by the forever avant-garde designer Walter Van Beirendonck (former member of the Antwerp Six) who is known for his ultra-colorful designs.
W< F/W 1996
I tried to look for vintage shirts and street style photos of kids wearing W< but found very few images. Almost 90% of what I found were from Japanese blogs. It's insane because they just randomly find W< shirts from vintage clothing stores. I don't think I still have to stress out how much I love Japanese fashion.
One of his most known works was when he styled for U2's Popmart tour. Those who lived the glory of the 90's would never forget his iconic BLOW-UP muscle-jackets.
I researched online why a very different and creative brand like W< would close down during the period where his aesthetic for fashion was in. From an interview he said that the company's backer, Mustang, tried to get involved with the brand's image. He later on decided to step out of it. That's what happens when the corporate fucks with creativity.
I have so much respect for Walter Van Beirendonck as a designer. From an interview, he was asked who he is as a designer and how he described his designs. He said:
Despite the fact that the first impression you get when looking at my collections is of color and fun, I do invest a lot of energy and research in the stories I want to tell, the statements I want to make, and the messages I want to communicate. So there is always a second (more loaded) layer in the collection. This makes me a designer with a recognizable signature, one who is ready to push the boundaries. In am not afraid to do it my way.
I think his style caters to a specific crowd or to a specific period of time. From all the colors and the prints that exploded in Fashion weeks last year and this year, his fashion designs are now in trend again. It's just the right time for his works to be celebrated again. Just recently, Antwerp Fashion Museum opened an exhibit for his timeless clothes (before, during, and after W<). It covered 30 years of his works. Amazing! I really wish I saw the gallery in person.
GQ also published an editorial that celebrates Walter Van Beirendonck's works for March 2012 issue. Photos by Nick Knight.
His F/W 2012 collection, Lust Never Sleeps, also received a lot of praises from the critics. It's a mixture of Texas Chainsaw Massacre face masks, Clockwork Orange, and voodoo priest face painting.
Thanks to fashion designer, and my friend, Don Protasio for making my dreams come true. He agreed to trade a Birdskull necklace for his vintage W< shirt. Sweet! I wore it with my 90's Paolo Raymundo pants, Demonia creepers, and Spinal Cord Harness from OS. The toy gun is an extra; I just thought it compliments my outfit. By the way, try not to look at the hangers beside me. I couldn't control when our neighbor would do the laundry.
I TRANSFORM TO PUKPUK
Check out a W< video I found online. It's the W< alphabet for F/W 1996 Pleasure Principle Productions. Listen to the lyrics carefully. It defined what the brand was all about!
A for Alien Anarchy
B for Beads and Be Daring
C for Cosmic Culture Clash
D for Disco Geishas
E is easy to buy, easy to wear
F spells FUCK THE PAST
G stands for glam and glitter
H means Heart, Hope, and Heroes
I is me, and Imagination
J is Jam, Jeans, and music
K says KISS THE FUTURE
L is lethal and love
M stands for Mustang and Money
N for new and nights together
O means OKAY
PUKPUK and Poodle Punks start with a P
Q stands for Queen
R for Rebel and Robots
S for star and space angels
T for trash and techno tribes
U is who we want
V stands for Vibrations, Vision, and Vicious
W is WALT, W is WALTER, W is WILD
X is Excitement
Y? because You are Young!
Z for Zany