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THEYSKENS’ THEORY: A Tale Of Four Cities

How should a cool girl dress?

That was precisely the question Olivier Theyskens asked himself as he began designing his spring collection for Theyskens’ Theory. His streamlined separates are themselves an answer to the question, but to hammer the point home, we asked Olivier to round up a few of the coolest girls he knows and style outfits specifically for them. But we added a twist. To highlight both Olivier‘s global background and the versatility of his designs, we asked him to choose women hailing from four different cities known for their very distinct style sensibilities.

Culled from his vast circle of friends and admirers, Olivier’s choices perfectly exemplify their hometown styles: Caroline Issa, executive fashion director of London-based Tank Magazine; Emily Weiss, editor of Into the Gloss in New York; Parisian artist Yi Zhou; and singer Sky Ferreira from L.A.

This eclectic group gathered on a recent rainy Wednesday to model Olivier’s hand-picked ensembles. Another friend and admirer of Olivier was also on set: photographer Marcus Mam, himself a recent transplant to New York from Paris. The shoot (like the clothes themselves) was effortless and relaxed, letting the looks complement—rather than define—each woman’s individuality.

Below, Olivier opens up about the women in his life and the collection soon to be in yours…


Barneys New York: Tell us about this international coterie of chic women. How did you go about styling each one to suit her specific stomping grounds?

Olivier Theyskens: CAROLINE ISSA is a London dream girl: She’s gorgeous, intelligent, strong and has an incredible sense of style with a touch of eclectic! For Caroline, I wanted to represent the various aspects of London style: pairing the classic British tailoring of her pants with the bohemian style of her knit that’s so reminiscent of the Camden town flea market.

EMILY WEISS is the quintessential New Yorker: sharp, smart, driven and full of positive energy. She is sincere, and I love her blog Into The Gloss. Emily’s dress is chic and super pretty, contrasting with the masculine style of her jacket—very New York!

YI ZHOU is a Parisian friend. She is an artist, totally free-spirited and driven—so talented. Her style is right, and she is a great source of inspiration for me. Yi ‘s look is very Parisian in the outline: straight and strict but with a super modern and cool twist.

SKY FERREIRA defines the L.A. woman, like in the Doors song! She is fresh, mysterious, irreverent and brilliant. I love her; she’s luminous. Sky is all about the bohemian chic of Los Angeles: the romantic aspect of the lace and the twisted use of the very light tweed jacket with iridescent details…

BNY: And why are they quintessential Theyskens’ Theory women?

OT: These multidimensional personalities are relaxed, elegant and super-modern with independent minds. They are perfect “TT girls.”

BNY: What was the inspiration behind this collection?

OT: What drove my inspiration for this collection were just two basic questions: How should a cool girl dress? What pieces should be put together to create the right silhouette using the correct proportions of a specific jacket or pant? I put together the looks by thinking of how women combine shapes, fabrics and styles…

BNY: What are the hallmarks of a Theyskens’ Theory piece?

OT: Within the variety of pieces that you can find in the collection, the one common element is a creative, modern and relaxed elegance that feels right.

BNY: How do you hope women will feel in your designs?

OT: Like themselves looking and feeling very good! I want them to be beautiful, sharp, sophisticated, clever, free and relaxed. The Theyskens’ Theory girl is ubiquitously cool and modern and it transcends through her clothes.

BNY: Which cities have been most important to you in your life?

OT: I love many cities; I can feel at home in Brussels, in Paris, where I’ve been for 10 years now simultaneously with New York these last two years. I love New York! Hong Kong, Shanghai, São Paulo, Tokyo, Berlin and London have all been cities that have inspired me in many ways!

Now it’s your turn to be inspired… 


All photographs by Marcus Mam. 

Check out the on-set beauty tricks of Barneys makeup guru Jason Ascher.