For his second turn on the official Paris calendar, Belgian designer Jan-Jan Van Essche looked to create something eternal.
The Belgian designer was taken by the gamine glamour of Swiss photo journalist Annemarie Schwarzenbach, who embarked on an epic road trip from Europe to Afghanistan just before World War II, which was documented in the book “Blue Immortal, Voyages in Afghanistan.”
“The timeless elegance is striking,” he told WWD.
The result is a coed collection in sand and earth tones, a return to form for the designer, who has always favored a muted palette, but experimented with bold colors last season. Aviator jackets were revisited in white wool and gray cotton, slouchy suits were interpreted in copper.
Subtle nods to traditional Afghan clothing were evident in long, loose-tied robes and cozy cardigans that were reminiscent of chapans; thick scarves were tied loosely around the head and draped over shoulders. Men sported pleated skirts over jeans, and so did women — the collection is androgynous in the spirit of Annemarie.
Even with his generous cuts he creates unexpected proportions that elevate — but never overwhelm — the pieces. This collection shows once again that he is masterful at layering.