Y/Project’s trompe l’oeil pays tribute to Jean Paul Gaultier
A large DPD parcel delivery hangar located in Porte de la Chapelle, in the far north of Paris, was the unconventional venue chosen by Glenn Martens for the Y/Project Fall/Winter 2022-2023 runway collection on Wednesday, January 19. The warehouse’s usual activity of connecting trucks and freight trains to their designated destination was replaced by the catwalk, one of the longest seen in a fashion show. The large venue not only helped the Belgian designer adhere to social distancing requirements but also in helping create an epic, memorable spectacle as it closed the second day of Paris Fashion Week.
The surprises kept coming as the third out of 63 looks to parade down the catwalk was modeled by none other than couturier Olivier Theyskens. Theyskens, clad in an oversized black coat and loose-fitting pleated pants, did not hesitate to take on the role of a model in order to support his creative director friend.
In addition to Martens being at the helm of Y/Project’s creative direction since 2013, he was appointed creative director of the Italian brand, Diesel, in 2020. The designer’s busy schedule did not prevent him from agreeing to direct Jean Paul Gaultier’s upcoming Haute Couture collection. Martens has already worked for the brand as a junior designer directly upon completing his studies at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp. The designer will take part in the new guest-designer strategy initiated by Gaultier after retiring from his brand, owned by Puig, in January 2020. Glenn Marten's Jean Paul Gaultier Haute Couture collection will be presented in Paris on January 2.
Glenn Martens will succeed Chitose Abe, founder of the Japanese cult brand Sacai and the first creative director to collaborate with Jean Paul Gaultier’s one-off season initiative. Martens was eager to foreshadow the upcoming collaboration with Jean Paul Gaultier, as he paid an obvious homage to the French couturier in his latest Y/Project collection, reinterpreting the iconic and suggestive prints used by Gaultier in 1996. Overlapping images of female and male body silhouettes compose the prints, creating an optical illusion of nude bodies in motion.
An array of chromatic and bright neon tones was continuously sprinkled throughout the collection. A long strapless dress and a tight-fitting top paired with a miniskirt in purple, yellow, and green gradients stole the show as attendees snapped shots of these coveted looks.
The trompe l’oeil prints tied the entire collection together as Martens reinterpreted the satirical spirit that characterizes Gaultier, printing the naked bodies on the garments in order to play with notions of gender; Female breasts were seen on male garments while male genitals were printed on miniskirts. The presentation of a capsule collection that will be part of Y/Project’s sustainable “Evergreen” line, launched last year, further solidifies the idyllic collaborative spirit the two brands share.
“Why not have fun?” Glenn Martens posed the question as he summarized his new collection. The lively looks seen down the runway not only proposed combinations of vibrant colors but also infused the brand’s classic pieces with overlapping prints and wraparound silhouettes, featured asymmetrically collared knitwear, and reinterpreted denim (such as a denim jacket reconverted into a crop top). Sheep wool jackets, large down coats, lace and lingerie style dresses, innovatively cut pants, and even logos fell victims to Marten’s signature garment deconstructions.
The collection’s casual spirit was amplified by the accessories. Warm blanket-style scarves and balaclavas (a collection staple) proposed a large range of options for beating the cold weather while images of suggestive sexual positions were displayed on belt buckles, earrings were disguised as metallic flowers, and crustacean inspired footwear transformed toes into animal claws.
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