Restricted from traveling to Paris, Christian Wijnants presented his collection in an empty museum in Antwerp. Undergoing renovations, the space was not only empty of visitors, but of artwork, too. Models walked their creaky parquet runway on chunky, hard-soled shoes, filling the space with the sound and their striking silhouettes.
The look: The bookish art student takes a glamorous turn, embracing her feminine side with sensuous dresses, but without shedding protective layers — quilted puffer coats, worn blanket-like, and a down handbag that can be hugged like a pillow.
Quote of note: “It’s symbolic of the times when you stay home and can’t go to museums, you can’t travel, and you have to use your imagination and memories to think about art…you work with something inside you and you just have to bring it out,” said Wijnants.
Statement pieces: Voluminous puffer coats that wrapped around the body like a quilted throw, in crisp striped patterns. Knit dresses, pants and turtlenecks, with ribbed stripes delineated with an ottoman stitch, plissé dresses in an enlarged floral print that resembled baroque curtains that were over-dyed.
Takeaway: This bold collection marked a shift from lazy Sunday afternoons at the museum to an evening at the opera. The move suits Wijnants, who works wonders with knitwear, a category that is skyrocketing in popularity thanks to the pandemic-induced quest for comfort, not to mention added attention when Ella Emhoff burst onto the fashion scene. Wijnants has long shown that your nimble-fingered Afghan-knitting granny no longer has a monopoly on this territory — just look at his bold, striped knit dresses and flared trousers, the two-toned skirts and oversize turtlenecks. “I think everybody will be fed up with this home-wear in six months when things get back to normal, so I didn’t want to make a pajama collection or a knitwear collection for staying at home, because everyone will want to party and go out,” he said. Amen to that.