Bernard Willhelm SS12

Size Matters.

That was the overriding from Bernard Willhelm’s show yesterday, staged in the pumped-up, nightclub-like setting of Mercedes-Benz’s sleekly futuristic Champs-Elysees gallery. Models came emblazoned in slogans like 100% and XXL (as if the acres of muscular flesh on show needed any further elaboration!), and with porn stars and female bodybuilders thrown into the mix it was clear Willhlem – as ever – was out to provoke.

But what was intriguing at close range was the way the designer used his models’ bodies as templates for detailed narratives – weaving full-frontal sexual coding and Messianic symbols with defiant verve. Love and hate, passion and consequences, fear and reconciliation – each heavily layered, intricately printed look had its own story to tell. And perhaps appropriately, given the strength of Wilhelm’s message, the garments themselves were somewhat toned down in bulk – dominated by loose shorts, wifebeater vests, deep scoop necks and crotch-hugging leggings.

Parisian fashion is renowned for understated, intellectually driven simplicity, so it was refreshing to see a collection that – almost literally – wore its heart on its sleeve. And( for once this week) had absolutely NO grey areas.

Images courtesy of Nowfashion.

Posted by: John-Michael O' Sullivan


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