Ah, the Antwerp fashion legends Martin Margiela, Dries Van Noten, and Ann Demeulemeester -once you’ve a convert to their fine-crafted avant-garde, architectural minimalism, you become a devoted fan for life! Richard Nahem, has his nose to the catwalk and has the quatre-un-un on the latest next big thing out of Antwerp in Paris.- S.H.
Glenn Martens, a graduate of the prestigious Antwerp Royal Academy of Fine Arts, launched his debut collection last week. He is a next generation talent coming on the heels of his predecessors from the Antwerp Six that includes Dries Van Noten, Ann Demeulemeester, Dirk Bikkembergs, along with Martin Margiela, who made Belgian design from Antwerp a major force on the world fashion map in the early 90s.
Martens’ collection was inspired by Bruges, his hometown, and the city’s Gothic architecture served as the backdrop for his tweed skirts, wool trousers, and coats.
The show was an artistic presentation that took place in a loft space in an obscure courtyard in the back of a municipal building in the Marais district in Paris. The room was dark and on the walls was a slide show of various modern paintings as the models walked by cautiously in almost robotic manner with slow, New Age instrumental music playing.
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The clothes took on an interesting dimension against the slide show and at the end the models posed against an Oriental tapestry, looking like modern-day Dutch portraits, with their pale white complexions and statuesque stance.
The collection, like Aganovich yesterday, was long and covered up with a mixture of long skirts and pants. There were a few looks that showed skin like a silver sheath with slits starting from above the waist with a short black skirt underneath and a crisp white organza jacket just barely covered the model’s breasts. I can see a distinct style from Glenn Martens and he is a smart, sensitive designer with a strong vision. However I think he needs to add a little more sensuality to the clothes or to the look of the show. It may have been the styling more than the clothes that contributed to the coldness of the overall look, with the models wearing white nurse-like shoes and pale almost unmade-up faces, looking more like waif teenagers than women.
I wish Glenn Martens much success for the future and I look forward to seeing how his work progresses. – Richard Nahem
Richards’s photo gallery: