Walter Van Beirendonck: Dream the World Awake is an exhibition being held at the RMIT Design Hub in Melbourne. I finally had a chance to go and see the exhibition for myself and I was not disappointed.

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For those of you not familiar with Walter Van Beirendonck he is a designer who graduated from the Royal Academy of Arts in Antwerp in 1980. He started a label under his own name in 1983 then in 1986 showed in London with five other fellow graduates. They became known as ‘The Antwerp Six’ after showing Belgian fashion as something to be taken notice of with their avant-garde fresh perspective on fashion. Walter Van Beirendonck continues to design his own collections and show his menswear collection on schedule at Paris fashion week and is also the current head of fashion at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp. He also has an impressive list of design collaborations over his extensive career- notably he made costumes for U2 some which can be seen on level three of the design hub.

The exhibition is a retrospective spanning 30 years of work divided into six main themes. Each is explored through fashion, audio and a huge ‘Wonder Wall’ as a backdrop full of images, objects, and key words. There are over 80 outfits displayed on revolving stands so you can fully appreciate and see all of the details in the clothing. It was the details that had me so intrigued as you can get very close to many of the garments and see the intense attention to detail. Although you can’t touch anything the space is quite intimate and it was the space that enhanced the experience of the exhibition as it allows you to fully immerse yourself in a riot of colour, pattern texture and sound. As a lover of slightly mad headwear and shoes there was also plenty to be seen in both areas. Walter Van Beirendonck has used the medium of fashion to explore some confronting themes but in such a way I left feeling happy and inspired. I wanted to dash home and throw on more colour and clashing textures as the exhibition shows a very playful side too.

Photos simply cannot do justice to the works, but i hope they inspire you to make the effort if you’re in Melbourne to pop in. The exhibition is a free event and a must see for any fashion enthusiast. It runs until October 5 2013 and I know I’ll be making another visit before it closes. For further details go to www.designhub.rmit.edu.au

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Details, details, details...

Details, details, details…

One of my favourites

One of my favourites

 

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By Angela Menz