André Walker Wants You to Walk This Way

André Walker Wants You to Walk This Way

The renowned designer held his first show on the fashion calendar since 2001 — but don't call it a comeback.

The renowned designer held his first show on the fashion calendar since 2001 — but don't call it a comeback.

Text: Priya Rao

Some critics call André Walker’s intimate Spring 2018 show a comeback for the veteran designer—he’s 35 years into a career that includes his own eponymous label as well as consulting for Marc Jacobs at Louis Vuitton and Kim Jones—but the creative himself emphasizes it is certainly not. “To me, it’s not a comeback,” he says. Rather, Walker explains it was a necessary epiphany: “I wanted to have a job basically, something that could really sustain my life and my creativity in a sense.”

But for the 52-year-old to move forward, he had to look back, specifically to designs from the first wave of his career: 1982–1986. After revisiting the clothes in 2011, thanks to the meticulous storage of his dear friend Patricia Field, Walker eventually turned to the project in a more sustained sense to divert attention from his father’s passing in August 2016. “I think it came from God and my dad, my dad’s spirit,” he says. “I was also doing watercolor for at least two months after he died because my dad was always like, You should paint or you should make clothes exactly the way you started making clothes, by yourself. And I think he was right.”

The result was his spring collection, an avant-garde unisex offering of wrap jackets with billowy sleeves and flared trousers cut from Pendleton fabrics. That Walker concocted, cut, and sewed his clothes directly from flat-cut lengths of materials underscored its arty appeal—not to mention the fact that most millennials had never even heard of him. Of his most recent work, he says, “I feel more comfortable about buying into something that has to do with quality and less to do with the zeitgeist. I’m much more interested in some form of foundational truth.”

Walker hopes to relay that idea and then some with his upcoming collaboration with Virgil Abloh’s Off-White (which he is tight-lipped about) and perhaps, one day with Ralph Lauren. “I personally have a dream of designing Ralph Lauren,” he admits. “I would like to develop something incredible for that company. I have clothes that I wear over and over again. This is an undeniable part of my lifestyle; Ralph Lauren is this embodiment of that kind of approach.”

Until then, Walker plans on designing, consulting, collaborating, and most importantly, making his intentions known out loud—something he didn’t always do. “I would like to see what I could do,” he says. “I figure I have to really be brave and bold and just ask for the things that I see in my mind and my imagination.”

Credits: PHOTO COURTESY LUCIEN PAGÈS COMMUNICATION

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