This Thursday, I walked into the architecturally grand Theatre Champs Elysees knowing that there would be quite a show to see. The building is impressively statuesque, gilded and ornate. Y/Project and creative director Glenn Martens are much less flamboyant and showy in their appeal, however. Martens is honest in his approach to design; he often subverts the banal, twisting typical luxury or street-wear tropes and shapes, pulling snippets of historical dress into the now. Such a theatrical space seemed apt for Martens’ flourishes on formal wear.
Looking to the typical outfits one would wear to such a grand location, Martens had stylised opera coats in cascading leather and patchworks. Pink gown-like taffetas swirled and swooned into off-the-shoulder shapes as well as draping from under skirts. Here, the wearer feels fresh - with a pop of top 1% luxury.
The theatre itself has been designed by a group of creatives, each bringing a different aspect to the building: architects Henry Van de Velde, Auguste Perret, the painter and sculptor Antoine Bourdelle, the painter Maurice Denis, and the crystal maker René Lalique amongst others. This feels fitting with the design and variety of garment on offer at Y/Project, as the collection was truly an eclectic ensemble; all adaptable, all appealing to different women. The woman who wants the mom jean updated with a double waist, or the woman who longs for a slip-dress with the Martens touch. Or even the woman who wants that perfect dressing-gown coat - for house wear, for clubbing, for work. There was something quite palatial about that luxurious silken dressing-gown, worn with none other than tan suede Uggs.
Yes, Uggs! Y/Project’s collaboration with the Australian footwear brand was back. Having shown thigh-high versions at the previous menswear show, Martens had brought the Uggs that go up back for womenswear, this time with thigh-high fleece and heel, a slingback and the typical round-toe form. These were a brilliant addition and not just a revival of the noughties cult classic, but a transportation of the familiar into the avant-garde. Much more desirable this time around too.
Commercial yet conceptual, this collection was a successful assimilation of typical luxury with not-so-typical streetwear, all with the phantasmagorical Y/Project styling flair and finish.