Accidental Icon: Coda Who Is Andre Walker?

“Everything I’ve learned until now, I ’ve learned from having a lack of knowledge.” Andre Walker

The dress I am wearing in this photo is from the collection And Re Walker featured at Dover Street Market. I have to confess until buying the dress I had never heard of the designer Andre Walker. As Walker says above not knowing is a wonderful trigger to learn something new. So, buying this piece of clothing was a trigger for some research and exploration. I found that in some ways Andre Walker has never quite “emerged” as a designer because throughout his forty-year career he has constantly changed and re-invented himself.

Andre Walker started designing clothes at the age of 15 and began showing his collections in the 1980’s in clubs in downtown Manhattan. Completely self-taught and never finishing high school, the clothes he made were all about curves, angled seams, and measured tucks.  With unerring intuition, he would cut curves out of fabric and stitch them together until he had what he thought could fit a body and be a dress. After making a name for himself in the underground fashion scene, he worked for the designer Willi Smith and subsequently moved to Paris in 1990, worked for the designer Patrick Kelly subsequently producing his own collection where his avante-garde designs received great accolades. His clothes included coats cut like oven mitts, paper bag waists on overalls and skirts and pant skirts which legend has it his friend Jean Paul Gaultier “knocked off”.  Challenged by the financial and business demands of having his own line, Walker became a hired consultant for other designers such as Marc Jacobs and Kim Jones. Taking a hiatus from designing and knowing nothing about magazine publishing, he created a collectible and expensive magazine, TIWIMUTA, short for “This Is What It Made Us Think About”. 

Invited by Rei Kawakubo and Adrian Joffee to collaborate and show a collection at Dover Street Market, the resulting collection albeit small, includes updated versions of older designs cut from vintage fabric and unstructured pieces with volume and ease in jersey.  I love the curves in the top of the dress and the double ties that can be tied in front or behind. 

For more looks from Andre Walker and Yohji Yamamoto see my Pinterest board "Cities and Clothes".

Have you ever tried to do something that you knew nothing about and learned a great deal in the process?