Julia Fox’s Favorite Designer Is Fashion’s Weirdest Provocateur

Glenn Martens, creative director of Y / Project and jeans brand Diesel, has a firm grip on some of the major constituencies in fashion. Fashion kids love it: my Instagram and Twitter feeds this week and the last have been overtaken by images from his Fall 2022 menswear collection and his special collaboration with the house of Jean-Paul Gaultier for Paris Couture. (“Make sure you zoom in bc this is INSANE”, said the writer Jose Criales, a northern star of Twitter and HF’s Instagram.) Avant-garde snobs love him, because his extraordinarily artistic fabric piles have quickly established him as a Margiela acolyte for the internet age, a mainstream misanthrope whose clothes can hang next to brands like Hood By Air, Rick Owens, and Vaquera. And Ye loves it too: on his infamous second date with Julia Fox, he took her to a hotel room full of Martens Diesel dresses, presenting her pieces from the Spring 2022 collection and not yet released before the fall. Since then he has been wearing his combination of boots and denim pants regularly.

Martens isn’t quite sure how that nighttime rendezvous with Diesel happened, by the way. “I didn’t even know they were doing it!” he said on the phone last week. “Kanye really likes my job; I think he’s always been a huge Y / Project fan. So it’s something that happened very naturally. I have no idea how I actually got all the samples, I should ask my PR! “

In truth, the main man Martens has in mind lately is Jean-Paul Gaultier, whose brand announced in January 2020 that it would relaunch its couture business by bringing a guest designer each season to interpret its founder’s work. Martens is the second designer to take the concert (Sacai’s Chitose Abe was the first) and her couture show, which took place on Wednesday, was certainly the coolest of the week: gathered and draped tulle in flattering and futuristic shapes of the ‘suit; ribbons tied and stretched and loosened on the body in a sculpted dishabille; rolled-up denim in a dress of belt loops; and pointed, corseted and sparkling knitwear. Women’s fashion is on a tasteful swing right now. The clothes are either extraordinarily tasteful, like Valentino’s irreproachable dresses on models of all ages and builds, or deliberately unsightly, like Schiaparelli, who made illustrated hats with gold brains for the crown and put Rococo trimmings on tight bodices. . (Schiaparelli is also responsible for the cone-breasted denim jacket that Julia Fox trotted around Paris on Sunday, but the cone-shaped breast, in fact, is a gaultierism.) Martens takes a more creative and complicated path, making unfamiliar clothes on which it is never based on gags, although often, like the work of the other four great fashion comedians, Gaultier, Yohji Yamamoto, Palace and Supreme, it is quite entertaining. Not funny slapstick; more like seeing someone walking in it and thinking, “What is it that of that boy deal? “In our times of shock and amazement, it’s a pretty special thing to accomplish.

Victor Virgile / Getty Images.
Victor Virgile / Getty Images.
Victor Virgile / Getty Images.

For those not in the couture demographic, the menswear collection that showed late last week during Paris menswear week was infused with Gaultierisms. The work of the French designer, who retired in early 2020, is undergoing a huge revival that seems inexhaustible. Part of the interesting thing about the fascination of young people with Gaultier is that, unlike other phenomena of the 90s that have undergone revivals, such as Giorgio Armani or Martin Margiela, today you certainly can’t get away with most of what Gaultier did. in the 90’s. His clothes centered on the cultural melting pot and he saw appropriation, cultural collision and offense as part of his tenure as a classic French provocateur. He put together religious clothing and traditional Southern clothing and touched up his nose with a heteronormative style, designing clothes that encompassed the chaos of a rapidly globalizing world and the cultural wars of the time. Designers can grasp her fishnet printed tops and distinctive silhouettes (as the Ottolinger brand did), but when a stylist tries to play with clothes and cultural codes as he did in his day, he is often criticized for it (this is was the case for Marine Serre, however).

Martens’ couture was rather apolitical, but his ready-to-wear, while not formally a collaboration with Gaultier, was more spiritually in conversation with Gaultier and therefore bolder. For one thing, he used to work for the designer, so he has an edge over anyone else trying to do Gaultier for today. (He made the couture collection with the Gaultier team, but had his team reproduce the Gaultierisms for ready-to-wear.) In terms of Martens’ menswear release, the Gaultier-east part was a series of pieces of mesh and viscose printed with the breasts and genitals. Gaultier made X-ray-like or trompe l’oeil prints between 1995 and 1997, but Martens put a twist by layering and mixing the masculine and feminine pieces. A euphoric expression of genderfucking, perhaps. Or, in our body-obsessed times, a comment on transphobic fetishization of the genitals: a truly hilarious phrase to write or read, but contemporary when right-wingers are obsessed with the idea of ​​controlling our physical forms with such horrible vigor that you wonder if all you have to do is sit and imagine naked people. Or: it could be incredibly offensive! Bodies as a fashion statement? Classic Gaultier. But I haven’t seen anyone complain.

info@imaxtree.comCourtesy of Y / Project.
info@imaxtree.comCourtesy of Y / Project.
info@imaxtree.comCourtesy of Y / Project.
info@imaxtree.comCourtesy of Y / Project.

What makes Martens so attractive and his work so dynamic? It’s not certain that you spend all day scouring Depop and archiving fashion accounts on Instagram, which I know some young designers do; he told me that he tries to stay out of the fashion world as much as possible to avoid seeing the work of other designers. What I think works about it is the way the clothing appears to be from clothing, to mix style codes (such as prep or raver) rather than social or political. Often, the clothes have weird layers of fabric, or make utility, like buttons or collars or sleeves, into decorative elements, which makes him feel a bit of a stylist himself. This is a streetwear milestone – the way you put your own twist on something – but it’s rarely done these days in high fashion or with such a technical obsession. Hers are the rare complicated and confusing garments, an extra $ 1000 puzzle for the buyer.

info@imaxtree.comCourtesy of Y / Project.
info@imaxtree.comCourtesy of Y / Project.

He is also aware that he occupies an unusual, even singular place in fashion. When I spoke to Martens last year, on the occasion of the revelation of his first collection for Diesel, our conversation materialized for me how strange everyone’s style had become compared to the previous year. Nowadays it is almost impossible to find something standard or basic; every type of clothing has become fashionable, a cynic might say, or, if you want to be more cheerful, everyone has gotten really extravagant with their style.

“Y / Project is such an individual brand,” he told me last week. “We have such an individual language that I don’t feel the competition of any other brand. The same with Diesel. We are not luxury; we are not mainstream. We are somewhere in between. “

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