Glenn Martens Discusses One-off Couture Show for Jean Paul Gaultier – WWD

As a design student at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp, Glenn Martens founded an austere fashion brand synonymous with the Belgian school, and also his hometown in Bruges.

For example, his fourth year project involved organza constructions that looked like Gothic cathedrals. Martens said: “We Belgians always try to find beauty in the unexpected.

That he was recruited right after graduation by Jean Paul Gaultier – he wears a sailor striped shirt, cardigan, conical bra and tartans – doesn’t surprise him.

“At the end of the day, Jean Paul is always aiming for very elegant, sophisticated silhouettes. It doesn’t matter if it’s made of junk denim or things that are falling apart. It’s really about reaching for beauty. ”

To be sure, Paris-based designer Martens Y / Project and also the creative director of Diesel, enjoyed the opportunity to create a one-of-a-kind haute high fashion collection for the house that Jean Paul built, now invite a guest designer per season to explain his rich heritage. He’s only the second person to pick up the gilded scissors, after Sacia’s Chitose Abe, and will unveil his collection at Gaultier headquarters in Paris on Wednesday.

In an exclusive interview, Martens made it clear he didn’t want to waste this “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity to live the couturier dream, and so he reached for gowns, gowns and more other gowns.

“I said, ‘Let’s make it precious and beautiful,’” he said, pausing in his cream plaid dress, the model swaying in her heels. “It was definitely about all the things I could never do [without a couture atelier]. So I really went for it.

Glenn Martens discusses couture show once


“Obviously, it’s a very different exercise than being the full-time creative director of a house,” he explains. “My job here is to celebrate high fashion, to celebrate Jean Paul and to celebrate Y / Project and whatever I have in my personal, creative expression and just to make something gorgeous.

“It’s really doing what I love to do – creating dreams and creating art around fashion.”

Martens notes that one of the joys of doing haute couture is, “I don’t have the pressure to sell that much. In fact, we sold a few dresses before the show, even when customers came in to buy accessories for the final collection and see what we were up to. ”

Instead of focusing on a single idea or phase from Gaultier’s vast treasury – like he did with his recent Y/Projectannounced a ready-to-wear spinoff collaboration focusing on illusory body models from Gaultier’s 90s anniversary “Cyberbaba” collection – Martens picked out a variety of ideas.

“I took some inspiration from the most iconic codes of the house and translated them into my language,” he says, showing how he combines Y/Project techniques, such as Use strings to shape clothes, to interpret corsets, stripes, denim and knitwear in new ways.

Glenn Martens discusses couture show once


To be sure, Martens considers her year at Gaultier an important formative experience and an extremely enjoyable one. While many of his students paint a bleak picture of fashion houses as mean-spirited, gossip-mongering snakes, he has discovered a “friendly, fun way of working” where right away. Even junior employees ate at the same lunch table as Gaultier himself.

Gaultier recruited Martens as a base designer for his women’s pre-collection and menswear label G2 in 2008, and the graduate stayed for a year, also participating in “sewing and gluing” ” when a couture show is going on.

“While it’s not my direct responsibility, it’s great to see all the tailors create all these magical dresses overnight. So it’s a good school,” he said. “I think it was a lot of luck because it was a really good starting point for a career in fashion, of course, mainly because Jean Paul was definitely one of the real inventors, in my opinion. mine.”

Martens would go on to join Y/Project in 2010 and lead the creative side of that brand in 2013, amassing a reputation for innovative cuts and an experimental approach to fashion.

The designer, 38, loves to mix up references ranging from vintage tailoring to streetwear to unusual historical references, including the Flemish Old Masters. He is also known for his pioneering silhouettes that incorporate exaggerated and twisted masses.

His one-time haute couture collection will be nicknamed the “Gaultier Paris of Glenn Martens from Y/Project. ”

“I think it’s great that fashion can also be an artistic expression,” he said. “A lot of the dresses you’ll see in high fashion are inspired by the dresses we’ve done with Y/Project. So there are a ton of Y/Project solutions and constructive solutions of their own, so it’s really a marriage of both worlds. ”


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