WILLY VANDERPERRE

FASHION XY

 

He can definitely be called as the &lsquocult Belgian photographer.&rsquo Because for him emotion is everything.

The uncompromising photographs of Willy Vanderperre revel in Antwerp&rsquos  contrasts: They are sacred and profane, gothic and modern, youthful and decaying. He grows up as a Smiths-obsessed teenager. And he followed in the footsteps of the famous Antwerp Six. After he studied fashion at the city&rsquos Royal Academy of Fine Arts, he leaped to photography and in his early works he collaborated with friends and fellow graduates like Raf Simons, Peter Philips and Olivier Rizzo.

Now his striking editorials and burgeoning career as a filmmaker goes from Christian Dior to Dior Homme.  Whether he is shooting against a stark studio background for Givenchy or lighting his subjects with a painterly quality for Prada, he always points the poetic and the melancholic beauty.

He grew up in the southwest of Flanders, in a border town where there was a lot of violence, theft and drugs. Catholic guilt was spooned in at an early age. In his teens Depeche Mode and The Smiths had a huge impact. And by the time he was 17, new beat was there, and that changed his life. It was Belgian, revolutionary and provincial, all at the same time. From that moment on, electronic dance music and its lifestyle became very important in his life.

Gaultier&rsquos men in skirts, Dave Gahan wearing a black Perfecto (leather jacket) on white jeans, and then when attending the Academy, the white Martin Margiela  show (SS90) &ndash the terrain vague show on the outskirts of Paris where his first fashion memories. But it was a more a happening than a fashion show. Everything you thought fashion was about was erased and deconstructed. It came together with Nirvana.

During his first year studying fashion, he felt that the time needed to express himself to a piece of clothing was too long. From sketch to the actual piece took a long time. He wanted a more direct expression. He was busier making collages of found images and taking pictures to create moodboards than with actual design. When he started to realize that, it all fell into place. It was like the most logical and clear thing in the world.

He strives for authenticity, emotional truth in his images. Emotion is everything for him. When you look at his images, you see this &lsquodark romance&rsquo. He tries not to be pinned to one aesthetic, but underneath it all is indeed a base of dark romanticism.

Vanderperre is now a regular contributor to Arena Homme Plus, Another Magazine, Another Man, i-D, Pop L&rsquoUomo Vogue, Vogue Russia, V and Self Service. His commercial clients include Calvin Klein, Raf Simons, Jason Wu, Jean Paul Gaultier and Christian Dior.