Y/Project Fall 2022 Menswear Collection

There was a lot to unpack in this Y/Project show. This must be why it

There was a lot to unpack in this Y/Project show. This must be why it was held in a spaceship-sized logistics artery on the northern edge of Paris that every day, all day, connects freight trains and trucks bringing goods into the city with 23 loading bays’ worth of courier vehicles. The epic venue offered beyond-enough room for social distancing. And it made for a runway so long that by my watch it took a full four minutes for the models to transit from one end to the other—so props to them.

Which suggests the first layering of wrapping in this Glenn Martens mega-delivery to dig into. Amongst the models were two amateur moonlighters: Camille Bidault-Waddington and Olivier Theyskens. Theyskens said just before the show started: “Glenn proposed it to me. I know him and I love him. We work in the same neighborhood and we both come from Belgium.” At that point, Theyskens started plucking lint from a nearby model’s shoulder, ever the designer, then added: “I think Glenn appreciates the freedom of characters.”

The next wrapping of character was added by the presence of Jean Paul Gaultier. The room was so big that we couldn’t be sure Gaultier wasn’t there in person—he might even have been in one of the two balaclava-obscured knitwear-cocooned looks near the end—yet even if he was physically absent, he was for sure creatively on site.

This is because next week at couture Martens will moonlight as a one-season only creative director for Jean Paul Gaultier. So at this ready-to-wear show, as Martens explained, he was paid in kind, up front: “We took one of his most iconic prints and we interpreted it in a Y/Project way. It’s very layered—you have men’s prints and women’s prints and they go on top of each other.”

Another layer! The trompe l’oeil body prints and penis pants that Martens was referring to, and which will be part of Y/Project’s Gaultier-facing ready-to-wear capsule, were certainly striking. They may well also represent a problem for Instagram’s nipple police. However in the final analysis—when you stripped everything else away—they were but the final fig leaf protecting the creative modesty of what was arguably the finest Y/Project collection to date.

Tulle over trouser suits. Check shirts, denim, and shearling that puckered and fronded in front of the body like beautiful, fleshy twisted orchids. An eye for sexuality male and female and in-between, expressed provocatively but always fogged and frogged by a complicatedly intellectual sleight of hand. There was a woman in all camel, tailored, who looked like she had the best time of her life and reinvented Max Mara in the process. Surrealist accessories including lobster-claw shoes barely snapped at the watching consciousness. As the techno slowly built into Die Zauberflöte’s mirror-cracking “Queen of the Night,” it was tempting to characterize Martens as a fashion Papageno, playing his magic flute and cutting his magic suits. There was a lot to unpack. Martens delivered.

https://www.vogue.com/fashion-shows/fall-2022-menswear/y-project