Thursday 23 June 2016

Paris Men's Fashion week: Y/Project's Innovative Eclectic Collection

Y/Project's runway on a boat on the Seine, with a model's wearing transparent tulle tops with pressed silk flowers. Photography & cover picture by Elli Ioannou
A touch of romance and a lot of Andy Warhol with a Belgian twist were the key ingredients at Y/Project’s Spring/Summer 2017 men's show at Paris Fashion Week, reports Elli Ioannou. Photographs by our Paris special correspondent Elli Ioannou

Female models & silk flowers
ON the first hot summer day in Paris, on the banks of the Seine river, Maxim's boat with its Art Nouveau décor (replica of the famous restaurant in the Rue Royale) lay floating on the water ready for the Y/Project show. After a lengthy 40 minute delay, typical of many shows during fashion week, in the humid compact space, reggae and jam music signalled the start of the show. Out came models wearing flesh-coloured, skin tight floral tops, deconstructed denim floppy sweaters, pastel pink and blue shiny parachute track pants that reflect 90s hip-hop references. The fitted, high-waisted denim pants with a signature diamond-shaped cut out were worn by sexy, gigolo-style male models who seemed to have stepped straight out of Andy Warhol’s Factory.

Contrasts of tough guy jackets & romantic pastels
Reminiscent of Warhol's screen tests of various male and female personalities, they included a young Lou Reed look-a-like, Basquiat and yes even two versions of Nico. There were over-sized cable sweaters handmade in Normandy and a use of contrasting materials such as moire on trackpants and tuxedos. Creative director Belgian Glenn Martens, has taken this Parisian label to new heights, including becoming a finalist in the prestigious LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers. While Martens first studied interior design, his first love is Gothic architecture, he decided on a whim to apply for the prestigious The Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp. He got in and discovered a real passion for fashion. After his graduation in 2008, he joined Jean Paul Gautier to work on his G2 line.

High-waisted jeans & big sweaters
The young designer worked as Yohan Serfaty’s first assistant at the designer’s eponymous brand in 2009 before going on to work with the renowned Belgian designer Bruno Pieters. He soon started a brand of his own, before he agreed to take the job at Y/Project. Serfaty had founded his label Y/Project in 2010 and Martens took over the label when the designer passed away in 2013. Part of Glenn Martens’ vision for the brand since becoming creative director three years ago, was to combine men's and women's pieces “to create collections that challenge classification”. The designs are also influenced by various subcultures and eras. The space, the models and the sound are all key ingredients in setting the scene for the theme of any range, and the Y/Project show had a suitably eclectic atmospheric and captured the collection's tough yet romantic aesthetic.
Tap pictures for full-screen slide show
Leather jackets and cable-knit sweaters hand-made in Normandy

Female models mixed with their male counterparts on the runway, a trend seen across all of the menswear catwalks this season
Black leather jacket over a tulle and silk flowered top reflecting the collections tough yet romantic aesthetic 
Pastel blue moire suit with long jackets and slim trousers
Glenn Martern's collection had both references to the 1970s and the 1990s
Another female model struts on the Y/Project runway during the men's shows in Paris Fashion Week
Sporty tight fitting violet trousers and fluid zip jacket
High-waisted blue jeans with signature diamond pattern and flowing white shirt 

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