Growing up in the Belgian city of Bruges, in the land of the Flemish masters, Glenn Martens as a kid developed a bit of an obsession with classical beauty. But with time, as his more rebellious side kicked in, his eye gravitated to the city’s tacky frites stands with their neon lights, superkitsch chocolate shops and the like.
It’s a dichotomy that has stayed with him, and this time he used France’s romantic past as a starting point. A certain Napoleon — “I’m the real Slim Shady” — Bonaparte was on the show invite, but the attitude was more Musketeer.
Martens made fashion fame with his deconstructed denim that can be ruched or folded back to create a wader effect. Here he brought the concept to new heights, using piping to structure his streetwear silhouettes with exaggerated swirling volumes on the arms and sleeves of slouchy tracksuits, leather jackets and coats. He also bunched garments to create a new (romantics) attitude.
The up-to-the-crotch, wader-pant hybrids were supercool and the jeans built from linked rows of denim cuffs created a high-impact visual patchwork, while the red satin shirt opened the floodgates of bad taste. Coats cut from the kinds of furry velvets used in cheap theater costumes tapped into the raw, ugly sensibility that’s proving catnip for the fashion crowd right now.
Martens continues to mature nicely, and it was exciting to see a stronger tailoring element emerge in the collection, one that added an interesting dimension to the current reinvention of the suit. Draped off one shoulder as if it were coming apart, one jacket also buttoned up — or down — at the back, for instance. Coats were given an injection of drama courtesy of floor-sweeping volumes.
Staying true to his Belgian roots, Martens, a master at using deconstruction techniques to create new garments, is full of ideas. And the rising designer looks to have bags more up his swirling sleeve.