The setting, a vast gallery with a black frame suspended from the central skylight, heightened the feeling of a clean slate for Olivier Theyskens, reviving his signature label after a 14-year absence.
The Belgian designer reclaimed his hook-and-eye closures, low-slung bustiers, lean tuxedo pants and swallowtail gowns. While most of the collection was black, he had wrung out the Gothic overtones and kept the silhouettes pure and reduced.
There was a whiff of Azzedine Alaïa to the skater dresses, taut knits and flaring dressmaker coats — and to the nature of his comeback after cycling through Rochas, Nina Ricci and Theory, taking two years to ready his self-funded comeback. Alaïa is exalted as the penultimate independent designer, for even if his house is owned by luxury giant Richemont, he sticks to his own calendar and my-way-or-the-highway ethos. To wit: Alaïa is said to be planning his next show for sometime after fashion week.
Theyskens, who catapulted onto the international radar in 1998 when he dressed Madonna for the Oscars, said he’s been “wishing all along my career to be able to launch my brand and to develop further the work that I started when I debuted under my name in fashion.”
It was a respectable, if restrained return, hinged more on commercial clothes than the poetic flights of fantasy of yore. Let’s see how it develops.