There may be a Demna, a Simon Jacquemus and a Virgil in town, three of the most important designers who are modernising Paris Fashion Week, but in comparison to his contemporaries, Glenn Marten’s creative output is the most girlish - and the most historic. Unexpectedly sweet and pretty, yet layered and immediate, the changes within this collection were fast paced and eclectic. (There was no such thing as sections.) By the fifth look we were into a vintage look with brooches as nipples. When I caught up backstage with Y/Project's Glenn Martens, he summed up the collection as being about 'Versatility and wearability.' Pearls, pleating and brocades were combined with parchment coloured anoraks and historical references. A Victorian high neck worn with a floor sweeping gown - complete with tracksuit top – reminded one of a contemporary Shakespearian remake of old called Macbeth on the Estate. When asked about these mixes of historicism and sports, he said: 'It’s street, it’s sport, it’s couture, it’s tailoring. Y/ Project is always about individuality.'
There was definitely a sexiness to this collection and an eye that was deft and current. It was all the more desirable for it. Doing something overtly female is something that is kind of sometimes shamed within the covens of cool. However, Martens' vision of desire is much cooler. Rejecting the obtuseness of anti-fashion and oversized - in favour of something that gives a female permission to be feminine, flirty and sexy - this collection felt positive and upbeat. (Male biased) androgyny is sooo second wave feminism. Y/Project is what Miu Miu and Vetements would look like if they had a love child. And that’s no bad thing. Arguably the greatest master of postmodern desire is Mrs Prada herself. Let’s be honest, desire is why we are all here. So, bring on the sparkle, the brocades and the ruched tulle. The finale look was so frothy and floral that we even started to wander into the kind of kitsch synonymous with the Japanese avant-garde. Backstage, Martens talked about a woman’s right to choose and play, saying: 'On the runway, you can see so many types of women. But at the same time, all of these women are in you. You can be sexy, you can wear something deconstructed or raw.'
A flash of some upper thighs / borderline cheek on the runway saw one’s subconscious immediately jump to McQueen’s notorious 'bumster' trouser of 1993. Whilst Martens' spiral shoe, this season with the addition of small flowers, also calls to mind Shaun Leane’s thorn bracelet for McQueen. Westwood, Rei Kawakubo, Prada, these are all people that have understood the complexity of a woman best. Martens' understanding of luxury and the female feels a tad more likeable than his contemporaries. It feels less pretentious, less 'sceney' - and more open. A word that Martens mentioned a lot backstage was 'play', saying it wasn’t only important we play with the characters within us but that we play with these clothes and wear them in lots of different ways. Like clothes that you were upcycling and re-wearing, he said that: 'Every single piece you can wear in so many ways, Like the skirts, they are actually three skirts in one. We have a jacket that is a two-in-one. The point is you have to play with your clothes.' When asked what he enjoyed the most about making the collection, Martens replied: 'Teamwork. Always.' A love for play, multi-functioning garments, teamwork, and the multifaceted nature of a woman? Fashion needs this.