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11:00 - 21:00 on December 16 2018 GMT

Essay: Crossed Crocodiles Growl

Walter Van Beirendonck on A/W 14

by Walter Van Beirendonck .

'CROSSED CROCODILES GROWL' is the name of this collection. The crossed crocodile symbol in Africa is a symbol of democracy and freedom, and I found it the right moment to let them GROWL!

When I am starting up working on my collections, it is always important for me to tell a story and to evoke the right emotions. Also, it is very important to reflect the moment I’m living in, and what my actual impressions and reactions on the world are.

This time I was struck by the racism, aggression, demonstrations and wars in the world. Worse than ever before, the world is getting less and less tolerant. People go on the streets to demonstrate, slogans in the air, to tell what they are not happy about, and they are asking for change. Also, the new and tough anti-gay laws from Russia (and some other countries in the world) are totally not understandable.

A BIG step backwards.

I decided to work around these topics, using the slogan STOP RACISM in English, Arabic and Russian as the styling of the collection (feather hats as pamphlets, messages shaved in the hair of the models).

CROSSED CROCODILES GROWL is the name of this collection. The crossed crocodile symbol in Africa is a symbol of democracy and freedom, and I found it the right moment to let them

GROWL!

When I started to sketch, and when I was deciding on my drawings to complete the look for the show, I was thinking intuitively of a felt helmet hat to underline the militant and demonstration feeling I wanted to express.

While working with Stephen Jones on the hats, we talked a lot about the actual connotation of the helmet and, as we didn’t want to give the wrong message, we tried to work on a hat referring to a UNIVERSAL helmet feeling. It had to have a UN feeling (colours), but also a 1914–18 World War feeling, and also had to refer to a nowadays demonstration soldier.

Also the decision to make it with a small leather bow on the chin, a small female touch, was important to give it the neccessary irony.

I was really happy that, when clothes and hats were coming together at the fitting and later on in the show, the felt helmet hat created the right tension and feeling, and it underlined perfectly my initial idea.

In the film, I would like to express this tension and emotion, but always connected to this collection and fashion.