PARIS, France— When is an archetypal garment no longer archetypal?
Glenn Martens of Y/Project asks himself this question each season, when he takes the staid, the drab, and the standardised ideas of what a ‘normal’ garment should be and wrenches that apart to make experimental clothing.
For Spring/Summer 2019 he was thinking about Christo and Jeanne-Claude, the seminal French land artists whose ephemeral sculptures lay siege to global landmarks by wrapping them in draped and knotted cloth, and whose latest sculpture 'Mastaba' was unveiled in London’s Hyde Park this week.
Applying his almost parasitic practice to clothing, Martens found new ways of swathing parachute nylon or fine, stretchy lycra over blazers, topcoats and perfectos to further his hybridisation of said garments into sportier, or strangely more elegant, iterations.
At their simplest, they were beautiful and fresh; yet when less successful they erred towards awkward collage. However with Martens you get the idea that such a dichotomy is exactly the point of his work. The forced urgency of certain garments always tends to overshadow the quiet torture of others, like the way his Canadian tuxedos or two-tone spiked trousers layered with spider-web knit stood out more than a gathered nylon coat. Its contemporary fabrication echoed mid-century taffeta.