Christian Wijnants is accustomed to taking inspiration from his travels. So, what to do when confined to home during a lockdown? He drew on his surroundings, thought deeply about brand essentials and worked some magic with a fluorescent highlighter pen.
“It’s a time of rethinking your brand and narrowing down the number of pieces and narrowing the choices, which was a very interesting exercise,” said Wijnants, speaking from his base in Antwerp through Zoom.
The resulting lineup for his namesake label was a tightly edited offer of staples meant to stretch over a long season, livened with signature prints, but also comfy, thanks to a helping of knits and this season’s brand newbie: puffer jackets, puffer vests, puffer scarves and a puffer tote, in pared-down designs. Pillowy comfort for public transportation, suggested the designer.
While whittling down his silhouettes to a select and perfected few, at the same time he broadened the choice by offering them in different materials.
Voluminous trousers were paired with roomy, but cleanly cut suit jackets or matching trench. The trousers carried a chic lightness to them in a muted ivory, and worn with a matching trenchcoat, stripped of the buttons, but felt more business-like in gray, worn with a fitted, army green turtleneck and puffer coat in the same color.
The designer used fluorescent highlighter pens to hand-draw prints of peonies or triangle patterns — he liked the way you can see how the color deepens with additional layers.
There had been discussions about whether to pursue the season or move on to the next, main collection. But this is an important collection, he noted.
“It has a nice purpose, it’s usually a very joyful moment you’re looking for, to wear slightly lighter pieces, at the end of the winter, you’re fed up with the darkness, you want to have lighter things, you want colors, you want fresh things, you want positivity,” he said. This collection came as an appropriate answer to such yearnings.