BERNHARD WILLHELM | SPRING / SUMMER 2013 MENS COLLECTION
For his Spring / Summer 2013 menswear collection German designer Bernhard Willhelm took over the top floor of the magnificent 17th Century Palais Brongniart in Paris. Models, dressed in his trademark wild and eccentric pieces, were deliberately placed in an exhibition-like fashion. With chalked faces and untamed hair, Willhelm’s models had an air of the un-dead about them.
Willhelm’s Spring / Summer 2013 collection was displayed in an unorthodox instalment; half alive, half dead, half asleep, half awake models stood – or in some cases slumped – as still as stone sculptures and held glass jars containing images of themselves, perhaps raising questions over the perception of self-image in modern society.
“Are they old, are they new? Are they dead or are they alive? Are they sleeping or are they awake,” Willhelm told Dazed Digital. “I wanted to create that world in-between, almost like that after after-party… I wanted people to feel like they were in transition.”
Outlandish Zulu-esque prints and oversized silhouettes were the main focus of the Spring / Summer 2013 collection. As with much of his previous work, Willhelm introduced sharp cords that ran throughout his fabrics. Tattered garments made from knotted jersey and denim were teed off with hard hats and bulky backpacks.
A sense of both excess and decay, which echoed throughout the line, told the story of down-on-their-luck men or warriors recently returned from battle. His Spring / Summer 2013 menswear line made numerous allusion to war; a camouflage-print jacket was teamed with matching drop-crotch trousers and an army green anorak sat alongside hazard-tape sandals.
Willhelm’s line spoke of a fall from decadence while he took inspiration for his brazen prints from Gainni Versace in the 1990s, with a psychedelic-print jacket adorned with metallic gold ruffled sleeves taking centre-stage. Willhelm’s avant-garde fashion career, spanning 10 years, came to a head at this Parisian show. He referenced his own impact on the fashion-scape, and look forward into the future of menswear collections.
- Ellen Stewart