The final show of the first day of Spring Summer 2017 ready-to-wear falls onto Y/Project and Glenn Martensâ€™ second time staging a womenâ€™s runway. The venue, tucked in a side alley sandwiched between the magnificent church and the boulangers and bars of Saint Paul, is already drawing a crowd outside. Photographers flash their invites and begin the hike up the four, very broad, flights of wooden stairs, which creak under step. Perhaps the definition of shabby-chic, the building looks as though the walls could tell all manner of secrets. Plaster has come away over the years, the huge vaulted, arched ceiling mottled and crumbly.
As the girls march down the runway, we are presented with a collection that has taken those familiar fabrics we know and love, denim, velvet and silks, and shaken them up into something entirely new (looking at you, denim knickers and matching chaps!) The collection is edgy, exhibiting glorious structuring work, including a bustier with stripes and buttons and twists that would stand up against a Frank Gehry architectural design.
Martensâ€™ intended the collection to be largely modifiable: dresses can be laced, sleeves can be adjusted and twisted, re-buttoned, and pieces can be combined to create endless looks. Throughout the runway presentation, many styles are layered together, elevating the individual pieces into outfits that toy with texture and length in a fusion of styles. Somewhere between cowboy-chic, sportswear and velvety evening dresses Y/Projectâ€™s S/S 2017 collection dares us to play with our clothes.