As we waited for the Y/Project S/S 19 show to begin in a beautiful floral garden, everyone started fidgeting in their seats, branded fans aflutter as a fox's panicked squeal could be heard nearby. People started standing up and looking around trying to find the fox. More squeals could be heard, heads now turning wildly, but this time from the sound of screeching, clawing cats. Onlookers were confused, expecting a gaggle of feral cats to emerge from the bush. This eerie, unexpected moment - whether planned by Glenn Martens or not - really set the tone for what was to follow.
What did emerge, to the tune of a now operatic 'Miaowwww!', was Martens' step into slick suiting. Lycra-like sheer materials were stretched over jackets, silhouettes were sculptural and shoulders were sharp. A Tim Burton character wouldn't look out of place in this suiting - I mean that in the best possible way. It was all a bit twisted, figuratively and literally, as piping followed the curve of body and blazer buttons swivelled to the back. The garden, whilst summery and beautiful, was peppered with neurotoxic plants and Mandrake - and felt an apt metaphor for this collection. Light and dark, sinister and sweet.
This was more a nod to tailoring than seen before. Here, the casual slouch of previous collections had been tucked and trimmed for. Despite the sunshine, this was a Y/Project evening affair. Lace-up brogue, large circular earrings, and sheeny coats were Martens move into the dark, and high-rise thong denim shorts and wrap-around slit apron felt ideal for a Berlin romp. Studded and spiked jackets, with the top layer torn, were a great success and beautifully battled with the simpler double-hem trouser and bare chest.
Lycra was rolled over the shoulder, into breastplate, across the back of jackets, dresses and leathers, with a technique Martens calls 'Christo-esque'. For those that found this new method too extreme or impractical, Martens made the warping entirely removable. Such a malleable technique paired with the Y/Project staples of wide, double waisted jeans, peep-toe (literally) shoe and slash-front trouser, presented a hybridised architectural normcore that appealed to both statement look-stylers and lovers of the basics of the brand.
Y/Project deserve to be shouted about, more air time, more fuss; Martens is challenging what we perceive as elegant, as wearable or as typically tailored, and he is doing it with exceeding brilliance.