When Glenn Martens took the helm of Y/Project in 2013, it was an under-the-radar, underground menswear line. As creative director, he’s since evolved it into an impeccably tailored, avant-garde womenswear line that’s nearly impossible to define—and Martens likes it that way. “There are a lot of different women in my collections, which really reflects the reality of life,” he told us when we visited his medieval-esque showroom tucked away on a side street in Paris’s Marais. “When a woman wears my clothes, it’s about asking the question, ‘What do I want to be?’ The moment you wear one of our pieces, you have to address, ‘How am I going to wear this?’”
It’s true—thanks to design nuances like wire piping and strategic folds, there are several ways to wear most Y/Project pieces. “Whenever I see people wearing my clothes on the street, they look completely different. It’s fun to see how people adapt and change the pieces,” says Martens.
A mash-up of inspirations keeps things interesting within collections. For Fall 2017, Martens explored the concept of opposing the American rap culture of the ‘90s with European aristocracy of yore. “It’s making a link between Tupac and Henry VIII,” he says with a smile. A graduate of Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Martens comes from a legacy of gritty, outside-the-box designers, but for him a smile is never too far away either. “It’s about enjoyment, eclecticism, and mixing everything together to celebrate life.”