Y/PROJECT FALL WINTER 19/20 AT PITTI UOMO 95
AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH GLENN MARTENS
Being asked to be the Guest Designer at Pitti Uomo in Florence is definitely a badge of honor for a designer, as well as a strong sign of recognition. Glenn Martens, who is only in his mid-30s, showed a powerful and directional collection within the historical walls of the Chiostro Grande del Complesso di Santa Maria Novella. We caught up with the talented Belgian to discuss his love of tradition, his ongoing vision for Y/Project and what he thinks ‘streetwear’ actually means.
Philippe Pourhashemi: How was the idea of presenting in Florence appealing to you?
Glenn Martens: I came here for the first time when I finished high school, just before my first year at university. For me, Florence remains a major cultural center in Europe, which flourished during the Renaissance. I also wanted a democratic feel for the show and picked this venue because it’s a Florentine landmark while being open to visitors. Pitti Uomo is a fair welcoming thousands of people each season and it seemed logical for me to keep that sense of openness.
PP: How did you translate this vibe within the collection?
GM: I think Y/Project speaks to very different clients and this eclecticism is reflected in the new collection. I wanted the clothes to feel opulent, but playful at the same time. There’s a whole theme in the show, which I named “Pop-Up”, where garments are doubled-up and seem to fall over the body. I also printed certain fabrics on tulle, which I layered over the originals, creating optical effects. I always like to give our clients several options to style the garments they choose, which means many pieces are pretty transformable.
PP: And you’ve expanded your line of footwear, as well as the bags. The thigh-high boots are really amazing.
GM: Yes, it’s great to have a full collection and our first one for men. The last thing I wanted to show was sneakers, so we started from this idea of a formal shoe and changing the shape, from two-tone boots and square fronts with heels to strappy sandals and sleek patent leather boots for women.
PP: There are always so many ideas in your shows, but you’ve also perfected some of the styles introduced last season.
GM: I get easily bored, but it was rewarding to be able to develop certain ideas in more depth. I showed more womenswear looks as well, which was exciting for me.
PP: Streetwear’ is as overused in fashion as the ‘luxury’ word. How do you define it?
GM: For me streetwear is a tracksuit with a print. We offer that within our collections, but now our clients also buy the tailoring and more intricate pieces. It’s important for me that they represent the brand well.
PP: What was it like working with the Pitti Uomo team?
GM: I have to say they were quite wonderful people, warm, dedicated and professional. I’m super pleased with how it’s turned out.
PP: How did you manage to get it all ready on time?
GM: Well, it was a bit of a stretch and we had to work extra hard, but somehow we managed to launch everything before the Christmas holidays.
PP: You’re not scared of the pressure, are you?
GM: Not at all. I even enjoy it.