Extravagance at Y/Project, purity at Ann Demeulemeester
Glenn Martins, with his Y/Project label, continues to experiment with the construction of clothes, hovering between opulence and quirky glamour, while Sébastien Meunier emphasised Ann Demeulemeester’s poetic mood this season, adding a spiritual dimension to it. Martins, a Paris-based Flemish designer, and Meunier, the Antwerp label’s Parisian creative director, illuminated the Paris Fashion Week on Thursday with their original brand of creativity.
With Y/Project’s Autumn/Winter 2019-20 collection, Glenn Martins, winner of the ANDAM prize 2017, once again let his ebullient creativity loose, setting himself no boundaries. Some of the themes Martins developed in previous collections took on new shape, like trompe-l’œil effects or clothes that duplicate and blend into each other, but he also broke off in fresh directions, like the faux-leather woven mesh which allows him to sculpt a silhouette with contoured jackets and trapezoid skirts.
Fur (also strictly fake) cropped up in some items’ lining or on the sleeves of a wool herringbone coat. Elsewhere, whalebones were used to create majestic volumes in the label’s evening dresses, like the one with a long train worn by Sevdaliza, the Iranian-Dutch singer Sevda Alizadeh, which closed the show.
Y/Project’s new collection is bursting with endless ideas: a shift dress with thin straps in ribbed velvet, knee-high boots of fairy-tale proportions, coats made like a jigsaw puzzle with organically stitched swathes of velvet or shearling leather, dresses made of thin, shining strips of fabrics, or even metallic ribbons.
“Each time, we evolve by adding something new. We have so many things to say that one collection isn’t enough! What’s important is that we continue to have fun, blending opulence with craftsmanship,” said the designer backstage. Y/Project also broadened its accessories range, with original handbags and stunning sculptural jewellery.
The register at Ann Demeulemeester was diametrically opposed, though no less fascinating. The collection is built around a series of long dresses that seem to glide sensually on the models’ bodies. The clothes appear to float delicately with every step, and are made of lightweight fabrics like silk, satin and viscose, in a palette of intense colours from red to pink, golden yellow and violet.
Black fishnet tunics allow glimpses of the body beneath. Other models in damask fabrics, and a series of velvet maxi-gilets, reach nearly down to the ground, as does the ultra-long overcoat in beige wool.
The whole collection oozes an almost spiritual feel, between the long, Indian guru-style tunics and the dark coats tied at the waist with a rope, remindful of the habits of nuns.
“I wanted to heighten this idea of purity that is the essence of Ann Demeulemeester. There is a genuine connection with beauty, perfection and something even more spiritual,” said Sébastien Meunier, who took charge of the label after its eponymous founder left in 2013.
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