“Crossed Crocodile Growl”: this is how Walter Van Beirendonck christened his A/W ’14 menswear collection. Striking as ever, the Belgian designer’s show at Maison des Métallos melded performance art with socio-political rallying cry on the runway. Blazers with thick vertical stripes were deconstructed with cut-out bibbed fronts and chest-high cinched belts. Graphic leggings evoked activewear on hallucinogens—one red-and-white lycra look was like a candy cane gone rogue. Otherwise, the color palette was robust: red, forest green, emerald, cerulean, yellow, turquoise. There were touches for warmth: body-enveloping cozy blanket coats, a mash-up of athletic shorts paired with knee-high leg warmers. The accessories included beaded thick bangles, red and white sneakers, casually-slung collegiate striped scarves.
Most looks were capped off with army helmets in soft wool fabric and pastel colors, designed by London milliner Stephen Jones. Each had an abbreviated strap with a small bow, reaching the upper lip rather than cusping around the chin. Feather headdresses, high and daunting like totem poles, urged onlookers to STOP RACISM. A few of those not wearing hats had intricate geometrical patterns buzzed directly onto their heads. The last looks showcased a series of ‘70s-looking striped pants, the looser ones evocative of gentleman pajamas. They were topped with men’s button-down shirts, busily flourished with ruching.