Topsy-Turvy Elegance The clothes Glenn Martens showed for Y/Project were odd, hedonistic and delightful at once
Sometimes garments raise more questions than they provide answers, and your eye constantly needs to adjust to new aesthetics. Watching a Y/Project show is that kind of experience, but the state of confusion is a beautiful one. Catching up with the Belgian designer backstage, he stressed the transformative appeal of his clothes and the fact that you have to own them first before even leaving the house. “The look was very constructed and more tailored this season, in order to create an elongated silhouette and a feeling of opulence. The emphasis was on versatility and mixing contrasting materials such as tulle and lace for example. We want to give our customers the ability to wear their pieces differently and change them according to their moods and impulses. The whole Y/Project approach is to make the clothes your own and find which ways they work for you.” The genius of Martens is that he can take a classically tailored suit with draped lapels, and craft it in a bizarre gray crocodile-print faux leather, turning it into a directional item, or literally twist a prim-looking polo shirt knit dress on the body, until it reaches the right imbalance he has been looking for.
This sense of disheveled elegance was key within the collection, as well as the idea that the pieces themselves might suggest a rebellious or provocative attitude. A quilted black nylon outerwear coat morphed into a bulbous knee-length skirt while standard blue jeans were cut-out at the front, revealing the triangular lines of a fitted body top. Martens also showed a few jackets from his Canada Goose collaboration, which will hit stores this fall. Sex was definitely on the designer’s mind when he incorporated a sexy bustier into an oversize mohair-mix sweater dress or showed a gold lame dress whose pleated cut underlined the pubic area. Inviting us to find unusual -and unexpected- erogenous zones, Martens used some of his looks to challenge the way we normally approach the female form, quite a feat for a designer still in his mid-30s.