The signatures Olivier Theyskens has been plying over the course of his career were the baseline of his spring show. Victorian gothic romance, wispy lingerie with a grunge attitude, lean trenches, low-slung tuxedo pants and swallowtail gowns done with melancholic drama were all present and accounted for. But so was a new trippy, hardcore energy that brought to mind Berlin’s art and underground culture. He brightened and darkened, infusing psychedelic hues into his palette as he ramped up a punk edge by layering shiny harnesses over feminine dresses, working in slick black fabrics and grounding every look with high-gloss, heavy-tread unlaced combat boots.
There was something quite seductive and badass about the clothes, even the delicate ones. Whisper-thin lingerie dresses and slim sheaths that ruched around a woman’s curves were printed with rainbow photo prints of Hans Bellmer’s disturbingly eroticized dolls. There were neat, sporty, Nineties bra tops and pencil skirts in clean yellow and white, a Thirties-style skirt suit in black lace over rainbow degrade, and a corset gown and matching hook-and-eye Victorian jacket that looked done in oiled black leather. It’s all been distilled with building a business in mind, but the distinctive point of view that propelled Theyskens’ rapid ascent all those years ago was alive and well.