PARIS, France — The Belgian designer Glenn Martens has transformed Yohan Serfaty’s Y/Project into one of the most watched labels in Paris fashion – its kinship to the likes of Vetements, GmbH, and Off-White is an unlikely path for a label whose origins in dark and distressed leather garments are but a distant memory. For his Autumn Winter 2018 men’s show, the only genuine leather on the catwalk came in the form of Ugg boots (and thigh-high ones, at that), the industry’s latest high/low novelty footwear clickbait that cleverly echoed the multi-cuffed effect of cargo pants and jeans that has fast become one of Y/Project’s signature tricks.
In an era when twisting "normcore" pieces has become de rigeur, Martens’ take remains one of the most exaggerated and thought-provoking proposals in the industry, translating ideas of deconstruction that would have once been Martin Margiela’s singular territory and stirring them into jarring and ironic garments. Case in point today were a suite of oversized tailored jackets, zoot suits more or less, with their brightly-coloured linings protruding from hemlines and bubbling around collars like inbuilt satin scarves. They proved a more convincing silhouette than the designer’s latest double-waistband trousers (ballooning in places where added volume rarely flatters). However, both continue his dialogue with the archetypes of clothing and how to subvert them.
While this latest outing will undoubtedly maintain the brand’s upward impetus in streetwear circles, it lacked the historical musings that have peppered Y/Project’s recent shows: baroque details that provide a welcome antidote to the overt 90’s streetwear soup simmering on the trend-driven stove of menswear today.