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Walter Van Beirendonck's Collaboration with G-Star: A Fashion Circus

Reminiscing PFW…

In an unexpected yet delightfully romantic setting, Walter Van Beirendonck’s latest show opened in a flower garden accompanied by the whimsical sounds of fair music. The frogs croaking in chorus seem to be paid actors. This picturesque backdrop set the stage for a collection that harmoniously combined avant-garde design with playful, clown-like elements, all while heavily inspired by the iconic silhouette of Charlie Chaplin. 

Frivolous as it first seems, it quickly becomes clear this is not all about happiness – rather, it’s about playing pretend, forcing ourselves to find that happiness and bliss in a world where there’s more and more extremes (and extremists) to worry about, all while trying to get through the day on a semi-peaceful note. In his words: “Playing pretend and believing that all we do can make a difference. That way of thinking led me to the idea of the clown. The familiar happy-sad figure trying to unite the conflicting sides of the circus.”   

Models paraded down the runway in exaggerated gingham pants, high-waisted and paired with short, rounded blazers in contrasting shades of blue with large pinstripes. These pieces were adorned with vibrant orange circles, a motif that recurred throughout the collection. Like the previous season’s elevated bunny boots, these featured Walter’s signature “studs” (like octopus suckers), reinforcing the playful circle motif, and echoing the humorous hugeness of clown shoes with their big noses.

As the show progressed, the variations on this theme became increasingly inventive. Party hats, short jackets with rounded shoulders, and a palette that oscillated between blue and orange created a dynamic and engaging visual narrative. Some models appear to have rushed through a party store covered in glue, picking up frills, ruffles, and streamers along the way. Large circles continued to reappear, culminating in Walter’s iconic self-portrait figure, ingeniously incorporated into the suit closures.

T-shirts featuring smiley faces and an array of increasingly elaborate hats added to the whimsical atmosphere. The silhouettes evolved into more Pierrot-like shapes, with large blouses and puffed sleeves. Sheer pieces in blue, orange, red, and pink made a bold statement, while the introduction of green hues lent a boxer-inspired look with double elastic waistbands.


A highlight of the show was the unveiling of the first G-Star collaboration pieces. Aptly dubbed “Denim With Balls,” the capsule collection was a surprise release together with the denim powerhouse. These pieces were created in G-Star’s lab, and were not stitched but glued, showcasing a future-proof craftsmanship that was both technologically innovative and aesthetically striking. G-Star’s decision to give Walter carte blanche resulted in a seamless blend of his distinctive creative language with their denim expertise. The jeans were reinforced, exaggerated, and featured playful “balls” as a unique design element. The collaboration also included G-Star knitwear, integrating Walter’s signature circles, this time positioned as nipple accents. This playful detail underscored the cohesive blend of both brands’ aesthetics.

Commercial collaborations often falter when the brands involved try to maintain separate identities, leading to a disjointed final product. The result here was the complete opposite. Walter Van Beirendonck’s visionary design meshed perfectly with G-Star’s technical prowess, resulting in a collection that felt neither commercial nor like a sell-out. Instead, it was a collection of unique, wearable, and valuable pieces that showcased the best of both worlds.

In this fashion circus, Walter Van Beirendonck and G-Star created a collection that aims to poke fun at the industry’s self-seriousness in the face of global disasters, while combining technical expertise with avant-garde designs, proving that true collaboration can indeed result in magic.

Images courtesy of G-Star, shot by Etienne Tordoir

Words by Pykel van Latum