Jan 16, 2014 10:59AM

Walter Van Beirendonck's Anti-Racism Runway

Toy soldiers, crocodiles and a message.

If you know anything about legendary designer Walter Van Beirendonck, you'll be well aware that his collections are highly conceptual and laden with punk rock slogans and symbols, often referencing issues of identity politics.

The surreal designer's AW14 collection was of a similar ilk. Having just shown at Paris Men's Fashion Week, the line was all about the need to 'stop racism.' 
The sentiment that was splattered in red paint across a bunch of feather head dresses in the show. You know the kind — high-street stores often appropriate them and white people wear them at music festivals.
The rest of the collection was less obvious in meaning, but it had the general air of militarism, dandy-esque candy-stripes, pop art meets ethnic patterns and heaps of crocodiles and mentions of the world "growl." It's like they always say, if you're lost for words, simply growl. No one actually says that, but the slogan suffices to sum up Walt's feelings towards what might be called (for better or worse) our colonial inheritance — that of a devouring (and regurgitating) aesthetic gaze.