Y/Project Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear Paris Fashion Week
The recognizable operatic flourish of Carmina Burana that signaled the start of the Y/Project show felt ominous; was Glenn Martens beginning to take his label too seriously? The answer came within seconds once the music pivoted to cocktail bossa nova, restoring faith in his irreverence. Cue the collection, which opened on a familiar note with extra-large jeans that buttoned up on themselves and workwear shirts freshly slashed and cropped so they were more come-hither than come hammer.
This is only the second time Martens has staged a women’s runway show and, as with the first, several looks seem styled to hit the lower range of shock value; see the denim knickers shown with matching chaps, or a black velvet tube dress that barely covered the under tush. Open-minded retailers, however, should not be daunted by this designer’s determination to blur any difference between ladylike and lady of the night; they need only scan the outerwear—namely the pony calf hair perfecto—and the velvet body-con pieces to realize Martens’s approach to construction is not always as exaggerated as it first appears. And to hear him tell it, most of the pieces are modifiable: Sleeves can be adjusted, rigid horsehair bustiers can be loosened, and dresses can be cinched or laced. The hypnotic spirals over each breast and the classic marinières essentially presented stripes two ways, as if underscoring that Y/Project proves most fun when the taste level is most questionable. The moiré silk tent dress shown with lilac parachute pants, for example, might not transcend garish beyond the runway, likewise a diaphanous, off-shoulder tiered gown the color of absinthe. Anyone who wears these knows as much, just as the strands of glass pearls deliberately conjured ersatz respectability. The gaudy shoes—whether the brocade mules or the diamante stilettos—seemed tailor-made for the looks. “They’re from Chinatown,” Martens confessed, with a laugh.