“When working out new collections, I like to wander around the ever-expanding universe I set up in my mind,” Walter Van Beirendonck explained in his show notes. “This time, I visualized making a trip visiting my longtime friend and outer-space avatar Puk-Puk. (I’m sure you remember him: nice and nasty with a cute d–k.) As we caught up, I pictured being introduced to a small part of the alien folk, a community with such a limitless diversity of forms and looks, I got jolted into designing ‘Witblitz,’ my spring 2020 collection.”
Sound zany? Wait — it gets wackier. The creative director, who wanted to experiment with shape, took photographs of toy figurines he’s collected, cut them up and tailored the looks to the creatures’ forms that could have four arms or O-shaped limbs. Van Beirendonck called it “Alien Vintage” and fashion of the “now.” Maybe in an alternate universe.
The first look featured transparent rainwear with large frilly “O” that wrapped around a model’s neck and descended to his middle, a purple net shirt and purple-and-light-blue athletic pants. Another paired a black fitted long-sleeve shirt dotted with three pink circles and wide black patent-leather trousers. A ‘Witblitz’ T-shirt, with one of Van Beirendonck’s otherworldly muses and a 3-D effect, was worn with turquoise-colored pants and yellow Giddy sneakers.
Zoom in, and the maverick’s fine tailoring was evident in the likes of well-hewn jackets and trousers, and puffy-sleeved bombers. As colors popped, Van Beirendonck’s down-to-earth messages — writ on garments in South African — nodded to worldwide crises, such as refugees’ rejection.