Referencing the 90s may sound like a cop-out shortcut to "no design" designs but Y/Project's Glenn Martens proved that in the right hands, even the most dressed down decade holds referential appeal. The next summer months will thus see crisp linens cut in modernist, adaptable - zips and clips and vents and more - pieces that have a utilitarian luxury to them. Dropping a dash of lime in his urban palette woke up the lot, as did his print of prismatic light, giving a hint of trompe l'oeil iridescence. In a nutshell, giving it definition without adding superfluous effects.
The subtleties of his designs, coupled with the sharp lines that he imparts to his work, made for movement that caught the eye beautifully; leg vents and back flaps caught the slightest breath of air to ripple, and zippered sides betrayed the possibilities event when fully closed. But beyond the knee jerk appeal of the silhouettes, the long interludes of feminine silhouettes made for a distraction that almost obscured the quiet strength of Martens' menswear. Because while his men are the incarnation of the street-aware, urban and design-savvy - if a little buttoned up - man about town, his women are temptresses that steal the limelight.
That being said, the designer is well on his way to making Y/Project come into its own, and continue the vision of its late founder by building on it. But if Martens is to make the menswear stand on its own two feet, he should perhaps consider letting it stand alone. As it were, his penchant and excellence in womenswear tripped up the ensemble, not for lack of talent but by offering up too many.