Glenn Martens, the inventive director of Y/Venture and of the denim brand Diesel, has a agency grip on a few of vogue’s key constituencies. Trend youngsters love him: my Instagram and Twitter feeds this week and final had been overtaken by photographs of his Fall 2022 menswear assortment and his particular collaboration with the home of Jean-Paul Gaultier for Paris Couture. (“Make certain to zoom in bc that is INSANE,” said the writer Jose Criales, an HF Twitter and Instagram north star.) The avant-garde snobs love him, as a result of his massively clever pile-ons of cloth rapidly established him as a Margiela acolyte for the web period—a mainstream misanthrope whose garments can cling alongside manufacturers like like Hood By Air, Rick Owens, and Vaquera. And Ye loves him, too: on his infamous second date with Julia Fox, he introduced her to a resort room crammed with Martens’s Diesel garments, presenting her with items from the Spring 2022 assortment and never but launched pre-fall. She’s been carrying his combination denim boots-and-pants regularly since.
Martens doesn’t know fairly how that Diesel date evening occurred, by the best way. “I didn’t even know that they had been doing it!” he stated by telephone final week. “Kanye simply actually likes my work; I feel he’s all the time been an enormous fan of Y/Venture. So it’s one thing that occurred very naturally. I don’t know how he really bought all of the samples—I’d need to ask my PR!”
In reality, the primary man Martens has on his thoughts these days is Jean-Paul Gaultier, whose model introduced in January 2020 that it might relaunch its couture enterprise by bringing in a visitor designer every season to interpret its founder’s work. Martens is the second designer to take the gig (Sacai’s Chitose Abe was the primary), and his couture present, which came about on Wednesday, was definitely coolest of the week: tulle bunched and draped into flattering, futuristic robe shapes; ribbons laced and pulled taut and loosened throughout the physique in a sculpted dishabille; denim coiled into robe of belt loops; and spiky, corseted, glittering knits. Ladies’s vogue is in a seesaw of style proper now. Garments are both terribly tasteful, as with Valentino’s irreproachable robes on fashions of all ages and physique varieties, or purposefully distasteful, like at Schiaparelli, which made image hats with gold brains for the crown and put rococo trimmings on cinched bodices. (Schiaparelli can also be liable for the cone-breast denim jacket Julia Fox trotted around Paris in on Sunday, however the cone-breast, in fact, is a Gaultierism.) Martens navigates a extra creatively difficult path, making unfamiliar clothes that by no means depends on gags, although it’s typically—just like the work of vogue’s different 4 nice comedians, Gaultier, Yohji Yamamoto, Palace, and Supreme—fairly humorous. Not slapstick humorous; extra such as you’ll see somebody stroll by in it and suppose, “What’s that man’s deal?” In our shock-and-awe instances, that’s a fairly particular factor to tug off.
For individuals who will not be within the couture demographic, the boys’s assortment he confirmed late final week throughout Paris Males’s Trend Week, was infused with Gaultierisms. The work of the French designer, who retired in early 2020, has been present process an infinite revival that appears unfading. A part of what’s fascinating about younger individuals’s fascination with Gaultier is that, not like different ’90s phenoms who’ve undergone revivals, reminiscent of Giorgio Armani or Martin Margiela, you definitely couldn’t get away in the present day with most of what Gaultier did within the Nineteen Nineties. His clothes was all concerning the cultural melting pot, and he noticed appropriation, cultural collision, and offense as a part of his remit as a traditional French provocateur. He pulled collectively non secular costume and conventional clothes from the International South, and tweaked his nostril at heteronormative model, designing garments that encapsulated the chaos of a quickly globalizing world and the period’s tradition wars. Designers can choose up on his mesh printed tops and peculiar silhouettes (because the model Ottolinger has), however when a designer tries to play with garments and cultural codes the best way he did in his prime, they’re typically criticized for it (that’s been the case for Marine Serre, anyway).
Martens’s couture was fairly apolitical, however his ready-to-wear, although not formally a Gaultier collaboration, was extra spiritually in dialog with Gaultier and due to this fact extra daring. For one factor, he used to work for the designer, so he has a leg up on anybody else attempting to do Gaultier for in the present day. (He made the couture assortment with Gaultier’s group, however had his personal group reproduce the Gaultierisms for ready-to-wear.) By way of the Martens’s males’s outing, the Gaultier-est half was a sequence of mesh and viscose items printed with breasts and genitals. Gaultier did related X-ray or trompe l’oeil prints between 1995 and 1997, however Martens gave it a twist by layering and mixing the boys’s and ladies’s items. A euphoric expression of genderfucking, maybe. Or, in our body-obsessed instances, a touch upon the transphobic fetishization of genitals—a very hilarious phrase to jot down or learn, however up to date when right-wingers are obsessive about policing our bodily varieties with such horrifying vigor that you simply surprise if all they do is sit round and picture individuals bare. Or: it could possibly be extremely offensive! Our bodies, as a vogue assertion? Traditional Gaultier. However I didn’t see anybody complaining.
What makes Martens so interesting, and his work really feel so on-the-pulse? It’s definitely not that he spends all day scouring Depop and archival vogue accounts on Instagram, which I do know some youngish designers do; he advised me he tries to remain out of the style world as a lot as he can to keep away from seeing the work of different designers. What I feel works about it’s the approach that it appears to be clothes about clothes, about mixing model codes (like prep or raver) reasonably than social or political ones. Typically, the garments have unusual layers of cloth, or make the utilitarian, like buttons or collars or sleeves, into the ornamental, which makes the wearer really feel like a little bit of a designer himself. This can be a touchstone of streetwear—how you set your individual spin on one thing—nevertheless it’s not often executed lately in excessive vogue, or with such technical obsession. His are the uncommon difficult and complicated clothes, a $1000-plus puzzle for the consumer.
He’s additionally conscious that he occupies an uncommon, even singular place in vogue. When I spoke with Martens last year, on the event of the reveal of his first assortment for Diesel, our dialog solidified for me simply how unusual everybody’s model had gotten over the earlier yr. It’s virtually inconceivable to seek out something normal difficulty or primary lately; each sort of clothes has grow to be modern, a cynic may say, or, in the event you’d prefer to be extra cheerful about it, everybody has gotten actually freaky with their model.
“Y/Venture is such a person model,” he advised me final week. “We’ve such a person language that I don’t really feel the concurrence of some other model. The identical factor with Diesel. We’re not luxurious; we’re not mainstream. We’re someplace within the center.”