For those of you who haven’t heard of the German designer, forget everything you expect from a fashion show, and be ready to welcome gaffer tape and coconuts into your sartorial lingo. Known for his taste for nu-rave and home appliances, Bernhard Willhelm held a presentation in a gallery by the Marais--or rather, a tiny sweatbox where beer and shots of tequila were generously handed out.
It seemed like the show had been excitedly thrown together the night before: the décor consisted of roles of scotch tape and string hanging from the ceiling, holding together bits of painted cardboard and fruits. Girls marched down topless with painted nipples, in football jerseys converted into dresses. The models held giant paper tubes (like oversized, erm, cigarettes) and blew out flour onto everyone’s clothes, while strutting, dancing and sticking their tongues out.
As for the designer, looking not an inch out of place in swimming shorts, a straw hat and a coconut tied round his neck, he explained in a deadpan tone, “As you can see, the influence is Mexico.” When I inquired about the empty tubes of glue sticks stuck directly onto the walls, he simply replied, “Oh weeeell. This is my Mexico.”
Upon closer inspection, I detected--under the photos and plastic slips pasted directly onto the models bodies--baggy tie-die dresses and headscarves mixed with sportswear, Lady Gaga-esque sunglasses, creepers-meets-sneakers, and football shorts with a giant rip at the crotch.
After Dries and Gareth, this certainly came as a breath of fresh (sweaty) air.
*Photos: Helene Bozzi