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July 30 2014

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Van Beirendonck Does Dallas

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Equal parts raconteur, rabble-rouser, and researcher, Antwerp Six designer Walter Van Beirendonck is no stranger to the power of the modern mash-up. From kink to Kawaii and everything in between, his collections are vacuum-packed with referential points well beyond the vocabulary of typical menswear. Van Beirendonck is interested in a very specific sort of commentary, which can best be described as a blend-up of global auspices with bizarro academia. It should come as no surprise, then, that he was very interested when he received a call from Texas concerning a possible showcase. “Dallas is really very weird…” Van Beirendonck told Style.com. “But there’s so much culture, so many museums, so much going on—I was not expecting this.”

Tomorrow, Van Beirendonck will unveil an eponymous exhibition at the Dallas Contemporary museum, coinciding with the city’s inaugural Arts Week. Spotlighting his Fall 2012 and Spring 2013 collections, the show will illustrate the designer’s fascination with privacy and what isn’t always apparent on-screen. “It’s very difficult to keep a secret anymore,” said Van Beirendonck. “Everything is traveling immediately, all over the world.” Inherent in his lineups are themes of secret society dress codes, image copyright violations, reverse race misappropriation (black models in whiteface), Papua New Guinean voodooism, and more. “I decided to show all of these ideas in a really pure way—with original styling and the actual accessories from the runway,” added the designer.

Once Dallas is wrapped, it’s back to Belgium for the designer. On top of producing his label, Van Beirendonck teaches at Antwerp’s Royal Academy, where he is curating the school’s 350-year retrospective, which is set to open on September 7.

Walter Van Beirendonck will be on view at the Dallas Contemporary museum from April 12 through August 19.

Photos: Ronald Stoops

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