The soundtrack at today's Y/Project show opened with Drake's Hotline Bling, but a strange warped version that sounded almost like it was being performed by a steel band. Remixing and reworking classic hits is what Glenn Martens, the Belgian designer behind the label, does best. Here, he’d run through a check list of basically every garment you could own - shirts, fleeces, jeans, suits - and fucked them up in some way. Extra pockets or sleeves were added, or additional waistbands and extra long collars. Things were oversized, or cut deliberately wrong. He’s made a name for himself as the purveyor of extra long sleeves and legs, but today he expanded his offer to include oddness across a truly enormous range of garments.
Y/Project’s success is a part of the broader fad for warped ordinariness that dominates fashion right now - part of the fetishisation of the mundane and the routine. The show took place just hours after Balenciaga offered a droll take on middle class dads, hanging out in the park in their simple day-to-day garb. The questions these collections pose relate to preciousness and expectations - is it context and customisation that makes something special or worthwhile? Does that act of appropriation add value?
Halfway through the show, a shrill phone dial tone came on the soundtrack. Maybe it was someone calling from Vetements to say they want their look back. But then Vetements’ whole shtick is a tribute to Margiela, the original master of subverting the expected. More debt is owed by them to Martine Rose, who now consults for Balenciaga. Y/Project also owe a great deal to the aforementioned pioneers. They should also give Vivienne Westwood a shoutout, for dreaming up the double waist band trousers they showed today. But again, context is everything. I doubt Martens would pretend his skill is innovation or invention - his art is taking and twisting. This spot and grab game is what all the most hyped designers right now play - and he plays it with the work of others as well as with the classics of the male wardrobe. In terms of tapping into the zeitgeist, this collection was a storming success.