Art and Fashion Have a Scary Baby: Belgians Discuss the Birth of a Monster

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Technically, Walter Van Beirendonck is a fashion designer, but one look at his crazy, curious collections and it’s obvious that his creativity doesn’t just reside in the eye of a needle. The epic couturier’s unique vision might have something to do with his erstwhile inclusion in the edgy 1980s fashion collective Antwerp Six. Graduates of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Belgium, the team of eponymous avant-garde fashion rebels also included Dries Van Noten. Together, the Six developed a trailblazing approach to design and put the diamond-dealing city of Antwerp on the fashion map, before famously renting a truck and setting out for the 1986 London fashion fair.

But that was a long time ago, and these days, Walter Van Beirendonck’s wild imagination is fueled by his ongoing 30-year collaboration with graphic designer and fellow Belgian Paul Boudens. The duo meets up at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art tonight for a rare discussion about the tenuous world of fashion, and how the two artists continue to manipulate color, style, and form in order to bring their wacky creations to life.

Photo credit: Jean-Baptiste Mondino

Photo credit: Ronald Stoops & Jan Bosschaert

Photo credit: Ronald Stoops

Photo credit: Ronald Stoops

Photo credit: Stefan Van Fleteren