Twists And Turns. Y/Project AW20

Y/Project‘s creative director Glenn Martens is known to walk the tightrope between good taste and bad, usually pulling from a grab bag of wide-ranging pop cultural and historical references. In his hands, fashion moments from the early 2000s can easily bump up against those from the 1500s. The designer has borrowed from the architecture of Elizabethan armor to refigure the classic blue jean in the past, and for autumn-winter 2020 he took that risqué, deep-V silhouette into more refined territory. His version of a classic tuxedo was elongated along the body, with a blazer turned bodysuit that fit neatly between each suspended trouser leg (as Martens explained, a hidden belt and secret cycling shorts were responsible for the floating effect on these pants). In Y/Project’s collections, it’s the subtle twists and turns that stand out the most. Martens has perfected his askew approach to tailoring, as evidenced in the sleek opening look. But in general, it seems to me that Martens’ work starts to get repetitive: it used to spark more intrigue in his previous seasons. Maybe it’s just a phase.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Men’s – Fashion Fun. Y/Project AW20

The huge pit packed with orange baloons inside of Y/Project‘s runway had a message: fashion is fun. For the label’s autumn-winter 2020 menswear and pre-fall 2020 womenswear, Glenn Martens wanted to bring on optimism that comes with dressing up. Martens distorts his clothing, amplifying details and suppressing others with a wit and invention that really surprises the eye. This season these distortions included a clash of Elizabethan corsetry against corporate dressing and duvet, winter-sportswear (a collaboration with Canada Goose is coming!). Disemboweled suiting saw strips of satin, sometimes black, sometimes shades of blushy pink, beautifully meshed and promoted to the exterior, a technique carried over into a contoured minidress for women. Martens, as usual, does exciting and far from obvious texture combinations, from mohair knits to heavy velvets. A white lined women’s denim shirt and skirt were mind-bogglingly beaten, twisted, and whipped into what resembled a piece of wearable art. There must be some paranormal force standing behind Glenn’s organic, fluid-like silhouettes.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Y/Project SS20

Glenn Martens of Y/Project is a virtuoso of distorting, elongating, deconstructing and, simply speaking, creating silhouettes that at the same time have a historical twist. Many of the spring-summer 2020 looks jumped in time: the 1890s black satin evening dress, the bustle now transplanted to the plunging décolleté; the 1930s lingerie boudoir slip, buttons slithering down on the bias, with lace trimming the bust; Belle Epoque velvets clashed with 2019’s love for exaggerated forms. Eveningwear is big this season at Y/Project, also because it brings a strong female sexuality. The daywear was classic Glenn Martens: a voluminous trench coat, a shirt-dress with an odd collar, a mint track-suit draped in a way that it looks couture.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Men’s – Beauty in Distortion. Y/Project SS20

Glenn Martens loves distorting volumes at Y/Project, and it’s an in-house signature coming each season from the brand. But this season, twisting, elongating, bending and deforming proportions of garments resulted in flowing, organic, even beautiful silhouettes. The tailored jackets and coats were turned inside on themselves. Chevron stitching on knits pointed downward past the double-zippered fanny packs to the super tightly fitted leggings below. Country wax and workwear jackets seemed to be violently grabbed at the collar and pulled upward. It’s quite incredible what Martens and his team do to their clothes, they sort of defeat physics. Womenswear was as well rotating around a similar idea of self-mutating garments, but it really surprised in case of fabrics that were used. Would you ever think of lace at Y/Project? The over-sized, black button-down dress worn over a beige shirt made of the same lace reminded me of Prada autumn-winter 2008, where Miuccia as well layered lace. But of course in a whole different way… Y/Project doesn’t stop to excite.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Reworked Glamour. Y/Project AW19

Similarly to this season’s Paco Rabanne, Y/Project was ‘overfilled’ – but in a good way (even if this sounds strange). Glenn Martens took the old school glamour archetypes, reworked them, and delivered something pretty much madly fashion. He jumped from a superchic tweed coat with faux fur and Turkish rug inserts to a long black satin skirt draped up from a pair of deconstructed pants. A pistacchio kimono coat-dress? Yes. A voluminous jacket with an A-shaped skirt that reminded you of weaved chairs that are all over the Parisian caffes? YES. The closing, XXL gown was so extravagantly billowy that you really wish to see it on the red carpet (Rihanna, take a look!). Martens likes to take risks. Also, he seems to be one of the few designers in Paris who really dare.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.