Skip to Content Skip to Search Go to Top Navigation Go to Side Menu

pick a flower in a garden

Monday, November 14, 2011

Still remember that day I popped in the WALTER VAN BEIRENDONCK
exhibition. It was a hardcore CHILDREN’ PARADISE more than an exhibition. What is beauty? Why do you judge or accept beauty? …. I had tons of questions. We are used to people wear correct clothes. Although this old-fashioned point of view is fading, we subconsciously judge beauty with classical aesthetic standard.

From what I learned, the “Alterations” mind as redesign some interesting elements which had already been designed in good shapes and reasons. Every work can be seen clearly done by his order, like being interested in colors, prints, proportions and sizes are all taken to their extremes. There is a scene popped in my mind – The growing trees were ruined and given new lives which had colorful and plastic leaves, but smelt like blood! Walter van Beirendonck is the gardener.

I can see he transformed objects, occurrences and scenes into quirky and eye-catching images. With an imaginative spirit, he is too brave too simple, he can melt people immediately. By breaking the normal Human Figure, Beirendonck shows metaphors and symbols. What he wanted to share with people is imperfect beauty, exaggerated imagination in real. He acted like a child absorbing the exotic basically culture, choosing the detail he was partial to, and just keep doing it to amuse us.

He made some ladies’ wear in “Alterations”, but he struck me as being inexhaustible inspiration in menswear. Compared those made by nature menswear, the women’s clothing seemed a bit mediocre and limited, but I really enjoy it. I found out a common “hobby” that he enjoyed dramatizing A detail. Here is one of the women’s clothing made me burst into a laugh. Picture!

You can say there is a mini planet on the top of the head, or animals in forest, a volcanic eruption…Beirendonck also said in the interview, in the world, there is tension in the silhouette as well.

And unconsciously, I have already followed his trick dividing the human body in two parts. I was so curious to find out some clues about this huge headset.

Hui’an women!!

As one of the keywords from “Alterations”, Hui’an is a seaside county on the coast of Fujian province, China. Hui’an Women are best known for their unique clothing, which contains the essence of the central plain and sea cultures. The overall style of the clothing was shaped in 1200 years ago, which stood out for its harmony colors, lines and patterns. It is a combination of traditional and modern elements.

The traditional clothes of Hui’an, a floral pattern kerchief, short jacket, silver waist belt and loose trousers is a joke. The short jackets they wear expose their bellies and waists, representing “democracy” or freedom and also save material for “thrift”. Their trousers bottom are wide, often 40 cm around, which has earned them the moniker of “waste”. The joke gained popularity in the 1950s, and is still used today.

The Hui’an women are tiny and light, with an upside down triangle hairstyle. They usually have floral pattern kerchiefs cover the hair, put plastic flowers as decoration. The way Hui’an women adorn their hair reflects the importance ancient women paid to the head jewelry.


Another obvious detail is butterflies. Ding! A mystery is discovered.

The color and silhouette of Hui’an garb comes from the national badge and the worship of totem. Butterfly is the object that Hui’an people adored very much. They believed the colorful butterflies symbolized brilliance and wore accessories with butterfly shapes, and they always keep bilateral symmetry. This cultural trait emphasized racial group relationship. The culture might be not that interesting for people they are not living in. The interesting point is you can look through the development process and understand why this outcome. I think this is the reasonable visual angle from designers to be inspired.

Living in this affluent society, we have some boring “easy fashion” and Walter van Beirendonck, two extreme fashion style and spirit. I feel like protect rare animals and cherish illusions. From this trip been into  Beirendonck’s beautiful world, I can breathe deeply and free. Try hard and sometimes out of order  can build up a own “factory”.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Log in