The Paris fashion industry is hungry for the next big thing, and judging from his oversubscribed fall show, Glenn Martens’ Y/Project is on many people’s short list.
Martens has been igniting the local scene with his playful approach to women’s wear, born out of what was initially a men’s wear-only label, after its founder Yohan Serfaty died in 2013. Items like super slouchy denim boots and oversize spiral pearl earrings have won him fans including Beyoncé and Rihanna.
Since Y/Project won the ANDAM Grand Prize last year, the spotlight on the brand has grown more intense. Could it be the next Vetements? Certainly, Martens has the same penchant for hybrid clothes and oversize volumes as Demna Gvasalia, who was a few years above him at Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts.
His added ingredient? A tongue-in-cheek humor that lent his show, held at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, a campy appeal. Consider the high-heeled versions of the thigh-high Ugg boots he debuted at his men’s show in January, or the corduroy pants with a burlesque-style embroidered fig leaf over the crotch.
The designer worked a fringed curtain into a spiraling pencil skirt, topped with reams of loosely draped lilac taffeta, and spliced strips of fake fur into an oversize stole, draped over the arm of a black quilted nylon trenchcoat.
Among the items he fused together in blurry constructions were raincoats, sweaters and silky robes that sprouted in mille-feuille layers. Other standouts included acid-wash jeans with a stacked, multitiered hem, and a wrap skirt that spilled a billowing silky lining.
“There’s a little bit less sportswear, but globally, we still have all the categories of the kind of woman we love: there’s a sexy vibe, there’s a sophisticated vibe, there’s a bit more of a trashy vibe, a diva vibe — all the kinds of women are there,” Martens said backstage after the show.
The brand has been using the ANDAM prize money to reinforce its production and accelerate its deliveries. As part of the award, Martens is being mentored by Francesca Bellettini, the chief executive officer who has steered revenues at Yves Saint Laurent past the 1.5 billion euro mark. The crowd was rooting for his lucky streak to continue.