OLIVIER THEYSKENS SPRING 2021 READY-TO-WEAR

The New Romantic jabot blouses are callbacks to Farmer and more reasons to hope this long period of lockdown lifts and there are events to wear Theyskens’s special clothes next year.

By Balthzar Malevolent

OLIVIER THEYSKENS SPRING 2021 READY-TO-WEAR

The French singer Mylène Farmer was a fixation of Olivier Theyskens during his adolescence. “There’s a short window from about 1987 to 1990 when I was really obsessed,” the designer said via Zoom. Being a Kate Bush girl in those years, this writer knows next to nothing about Gallic pop music of the era, so Theyskens revved up his iPad. “She was very famous in France. I loved her universe, her voice,” he began. “During confinement I watched clips of her from that era and I realized that a lot of things common to my aesthetic came from her. It was interesting for me as an adult to dive back into that nostalgia.”

The confinement of quarantine has prompted all sorts of self-reflection. Either out of yearning for a more innocent time or out of necessity (with mills and factories closed or running at reduced capacity), designers are reviving silhouettes from their past and pulling old fabrics out of storage. The process has resulted in smaller, tighter collections, and more personal ones too, with the unnecessary and irrelevant—runway filler, is another way to put it—stripped away.

Theyskens’s new collection is a 2021 alternative to Farmer’s 1980s wardrobe and a trip through his own archive. Look one, with its fitted bodice and long, full skirt, calls to mind the yellow hook-and-eye gown that Madonna pulled from the designer for the 1998 VH1 Fashion Awards. It was only through his research this season that he realized that he must have lifted inspiration for that red carpet sensation from a Farmer video clip about 10 years earlier.

If and when red carpets come back, celebrity stylists will be seeking Theyskens out. Most designers ignored the category, which only serves to spotlight his talents in this area. See a velvet bustier dress that he hand-dyed to fade from eau de Nil to blush pink and an ivory bias-cut silk negligee gown with a dramatic twist of volume below the knees. The soft, unstructured shapes of androgynous suits and the New Romantic jabot blouses are callbacks to Farmer and more reasons to hope this long period of lockdown lifts and there are events to wear Theyskens’s special clothes next year.

Olivier Theyskens Spring 2021 Ready-to-wear.
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