For only the third season of his revived signature line, Olivier Theyskens delivered a greatest hits of sorts, connecting the dots between his own collections starting in 1997 and his stints at various prominent houses, capping with Theory. It’s only normal given that the Belgian designer has been knee-deep in preparations for his retrospective, “She Walks in Beauty,” set to open at the fashion museum in Antwerp on Oct. 12.
“I was at the museum Thursday and they were already dressing the mannequins, and it was very bizarre because every era was mixed together, from Theyskens to Rochas to Ricci. There they were, all these towering silhouettes and all in all it was just like a group of girls in all these designs,” said Theyskens backstage, adding of the exhibition: “They were interested by the idea of presenting a contemporary designer with such a special path.”
In the collection’s mix were contemporary spins on his signature long and lean coats, graphic silk bias-cut dresses with lace, and billowing skirts with ballgown volumes recalling Madonna’s goth gown in her “Frozen” video. Some of the models carried umbrellas like “true Belgian girls,” he noted.
Theyskens contrasted structured and lingerie pieces, and silhouettes pairing tailoring and flou, with a precise approach to shapes incorporating asymmetries and graphic touches. His palette focused on “the blackest of blacks and the whitest of whites” broken by makeup tones flushing from nude pink to bordeaux.
Theyskens’ ultimate aim here through his digestion of collections past was to create a wearable contemporary wardrobe. The little white lace and organza shirtdress worn with a loose black satin tuxedo jacket, and a white leather ruffled dress with a contrast strip of oversize black hook-and-eye closures captured where he is today.