It was most likely those wrinkly Ugg boots, looking like an oversized Shar-Pei, that garnered Y/Project its recent and biggest amount of attention. The Paris based label, headed by Belgian designer, Glenn Martens, has been lumped in with that Off-White/Balenciaga cool wave of recent years. Martens, 35, has been at Y/Project for the past 5 years, taking over from founder, Yohan Serfaty, when he died in 2013. His first assistant, Martens, was an Interior Architecture graduate and an alumni from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp.
Left - Y/Project's signature waders
This season’s guest designer at Florence’s Pitti Uomo, this was the label’s AW19 show of men’s and womenswear, bringing forward their usual date from Paris.
Forget the museum, it was a night at Florence’s famous Santa Maria Novella monastery, next to the central station and known for its smellies. Guests were given torches as they entered the huge, darkened church and we followed the hundreds of mini flashlights into the cloistered quadrant where the catwalk ran around the four sides with the models ending up like chess pieces in the middle.
Divine despite the cold, the columns and erect cypresses were silhouetted onto the shaded honey walls as the models took a turn on what has to be one of the longest catwalks ever. One model was hobbling in her lemon yellow stilettos before she’d reached the fourth side and on into the soil centre.
What we saw was a delight of design. Yes, a designer actually trying to design something and, the majority of times, pulling it off. There’s such a difference between a designer, here, and an editor, the majority of brands, who just reconfigure and fine tune things. The word here was reconstruction. Your eye followed seams and there was an itching want to open it all up and look inside: seeing where things were going to and how they worked. This is the kind of stuff that interests us fashion geeks and isn’t something Zara can easily replicate, and, as such, makes you crave the original.
Right - Y/Project AW19 - First men's bag and shoe collection
This was the debut of the brand’s men’s footwear and bag line, both hand-crafted in Italy.
The signature waders were there, but in rigid, shiny plastic, almost like creased trousers with the shoes attached. There was plenty for the tailoring revivalists. A new tuxedo jacket appeared where the satin label was pulled out to create a 3D effect with the button. This is difficult stuff to get looking right. Fringed scarves resembling Turkish carpets added to accessorises, plus pinstripes and this season’s pattern du jour, tartan.
This was contemporary cool, bit not aching or gimmicky. You could see different age groups in these clothes and wearers enjoying the newness and the details. It felt like the direction we’re headed in. From the deconstructed and harsh reality of recent years, back to a glamour of construction and playing with new ideas while still keeping it real.
This feels like the last of this type of designer we’ll see at Pitti Uomo, as I predict a return to more tailoring and Italian industry brands, but, Martens, lead us into temptation and away from the sportswear grunge to a higher sophistication. Could Martens become the Y/Prophet?
Damien Paul, Head of Menswear, MATCHESFASHION.COM
“JW Anderson and MATCHESFASHION.COM have teamed up to launch a ten-piece capsule collection and the London based designer has taken iconic pieces from the main collection and reinvented them with new graphics and colourways. This beige bomber jacket features distinctive branding emblazoned across the back. It is crafted from cotton with a zip front and framed with a ribbed-knit collar, cuffs, and hem.”
Left - JW Anderson – Ribbed-Trimmed Bomber Jacket - £840
“New on site for SS18, Austrian brand Andy Wolf develops its signature clean and modern frames, taking into consideration every aspect, from design to prototyping and distribution. Every part of the frame undergoes rigorous quality control and uses the highest quality materials across its impressive array of designs. The Hazel sunglasses present an update of the classic aviator style, deploying a thicker frame and brown tinted lenses.”
Below - Andy Wolf – Aviator Sunglasses - £320
“Men’s fashion continues to break convention as it moves into an exciting new era. With this season’s Parisian-based label Y/Project, references that include gothic grandeur and simple streetwear, they offer up detail like this grey-marl sweatshirt with an attached second panel with sleeves that can be tied around the body or left to hang loose.”
Left - Y/Project – Overlay Detail Sweatshirt - £480
"For Spring Summer 18 sandals are an increasingly interesting category, and we have bought over 100 new styles at MATCHESFASHION.COM. Brands such as Marni provide an artful aesthetic with these sandals. Made from navy and red striped grosgrain cross-over straps and finished with nude-beige leather insoles and natural jute soles this style has the quirky flourish you’d expect from this Italian designer.
Above - Marni – Grosgrain Sandals - £370
“Thom Browne offers a refreshing update on tailoring in this season’s wardrobe. This grey and white pin-striped, wool-blend trousers combine classic tailoring with a sartorial twist.”
Left - Thom Browne – Backstrap Straight-Leg Pinstriped Trousers - £590