Y/Project: medieval-meets-90s cool
On the post card invitation to the runway show, was a photo of the old General Electric building. The monumental dwelling, a concert space and squatters residence in Paris, was the show address chosen by Glenn Martens, the Belgian designer at the helm of Paris-based Y/Project label for the last four years.
Trained first in interior architecture in Bruges, before graduating from the Royal Academy in Anvers, Martens first showed his own designs in 2012, after which he was called upon to succeed Yohan Serfaty, the former-artistic director of Y/Project before his departure.
Influenced by architecture, in particular royal figures, baroque and the Middle Ages, Marten's new collection also riffed on the culture of his 90s roots, "the period when I grew up," said Martens, the collection mix culminating to a vision of contemporary romanticism.
For spring/summer 2018, the silhouettes and street-cast models made reference to Paris, the designer's newfound city, portraying "in its past legacies, its heritage, its cosmopolitanism," and configured in playful volumes using beautiful materials (suede, linen and nylon), all the while depicting 90s accents. It all made for a strong runway show, which concluded with a standing ovation and several enthusiastic shouts.
Backed by investor Gilles Elalouf, ex-director of Publicis group's, Stratégie Interactive and CEO of Y/Project, the brand has been witnessing strong growth for several seasons, going from 50 points of sale globally (at the time of its autumn/winter 2016 collection) to 130 points today.
Since its debut, Y/Projet has been distributed via Opening Ceremony and Eclaireur in Paris, with a strong presence in the US (New York and Los Angeles), in Italy, China and the UK. The brand is also present in department stores Harvey Nichols (Hong Kong), Selfridges (UK), and this winter will be stocked in Paris' Galeries Lafayette, as well as in the Martine Chambon stores in Courchevel and Saint-Tropez.
Based in Paris, the brand manufactures its products in Italy, Portugal, Tunisia and France. It is planning to reenforce its presence in Korea this year, one of the next markets for potential growth, along with Germany.
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