There’s something Olivier Theyskens always wanted to try: working three successive seasons in a triptych, delving further and further into his initial direction.
This third chapter centered on material and color research, which saw him push even further, layering filmy layers with ribbons, treating them and then cutting them on bias. Likewise with colors, where the designer works largely on instinct to arrive at his burnt gold, black, blush-beige or multicolored assortments.
So in the courtyard of his atelier in the Marais, where he moved during the pandemic, he showed further evolutions of his gossamer-thin patchworks of knit, lace and silks cut into long, romantic silhouettes.
Fabric continues to be sourced from his sizable cache, and beaded knit body suits were also one of his experiments, started after he purchased a specialized machine and stock of fibers from a professor who was retiring.
They were juxtaposed with “monolithic, almost minimal, clean and plain” tailoring, with long jackets and floor grazing straight-leg trousers.
“There are no buttons because I don’t have a buttonhole machine,” he said. Adding them would have also been distracting on long, lean silhouettes with marked shoulders.
Bridging the gap was a long leather patchwork duster, where the arrangement of pieces created a feathering effect.
COVID-19 also pushed him to transform his business, curtailing the wholesale business and turning his attention to bespoke designs. “We do things as beautiful as possible and as well as we can,” he said.
That said, don’t be too quick to label his efforts couture, even if each piece is unique, owing to its sourcing.
“Neither I nor anyone in my team has ever worked in a couture house, so I do things my way,” he explained, saying he wanted to continue to explore the properties of the new materials he has created. “I want to do things the safe, steady way and concentrate on this creative side. We’re happy this way — for now.”