y/project brings its trademark fun to spring/summer 20

An opulence and elegance were added to Y/Project’s playful creativity.

by Steve Salter
20 June 2019, 11:32am

This article originally appeared on i-D UK.

“There's a bit of a romance running through the collection but we can never take ourselves too seriously,” Y/Project’s Creative Director, Glenn Martens, said in a quiet enclave of the spring/summer 20 show’s church venue. Soundtracked by a culture clash of Bizet’s operatic L’Amour Est un Oiseau Rebelle interrupted by The Muppets, Y/Project’s trademark sense of fun ran throughout the collection.


From the moment Glenn Martens replaced the late Yohan Serfaty at Y/Project in 2013, the former Jean Paul Gaultier junior designer turned a label in mourning into one of Paris’ most dynamic forces. Under the tongue-in-cheek designer’s creative stewardship, the Paris-based unisex label has alternated between sensory-disturbing ugliness and imagination-igniting creativity. Glenn’s desire to push at fashion’s boundaries has continually led to talking points -- most recently Ellen DeGeneres discussed the denim janties on her show -- because what he creates feels new, and what’s new can be shocking. “Most of the pieces are easy to digest but if I only created such items, I would get so bored,” he told us earlier this year, in the aftermath of Ellen. If everything in fashion was a one-dimensional version of what people deem wearable or chic or pretty, fashion week would be a very dull nightmare.


Despite his adept meme fashion moments, he has increasingly introduced refinement and, dare we say, elegance and chicness to the mix, albeit one seen through the madcap filter of his mind. “Everything has to be twisted, it has to be both serious and fun,” he said post-show. “We might have classic tailoring and knitwear but there's always an element of fun. Within what I think is beauty, there has to be a joke. We've built on the pulled facings of recent seasons but pushed them that bit more, they almost become amorphic flowers. Everything is that bit more opulent... but even the driest of pieces can become unusual."


But don’t get lost in the LOLs. Just take a moment to look at the technical trickery that makes his designs a reality and you’ll see that while he knows how to enjoy himself, he’s a craftsmen. Even everyday pieces are sculptural, with gravity-defying twisted collars, accentuated shoulders, gathered knits, bulbous bumbags and asymmetrical seams. “We’ve introduced what we call infinity pieces,” he says. “The outside is loose from the inside, each body moves independently from the other, so there's no way to support them properly. It stays on your body but it will always sit unexpectedly, and we've cut garments to accentuate these tensions. Some collars are popped up but you can wear them down for something more classic.”

Ultimately, Y/Project not only provides the wardrobe for a diverse collective of individuals, but it allows the wearer to make the pieces their own. “So many of our clothes are constructed in a way that encourages the wearer to change them, twist them and style them in the way they feel most comfortable, which emphasises this idea of owning something.” Now, that’s fashion democracy.



Photography Sam Hellmann

This article originally appeared on i-D UK.

glenn martens
menswear paris
spring/summer 20