At some shows in Paris, the throngs of fashion kids outside are so thick, there’s not one, but two security checkpoints. At Y/Project tonight, many stylish young people seemed to make it past the guards and the PRs and find their way into the venue.

Glenn Martens is part of an exclusive group of designers whose work resonates most with Gen Z. Seven thousand people turned up at his Diesel runway rave in Milan, and stayed despite the rain. It’s no surprise his name tends to be among the first mentioned when a new creative director position opens up. Those whispers are only going to get louder after this season’s standing room only show.

Like many a Y/Project collection before this one, the foundation here was denim torqued into all manner of non-obvious shapes and more often than not over-dyed in intense color—lavender, acid yellow, wine red. Some of the jeans appeared to snap onto the shafts of work boots. Twisting, twirling, and “changing the perception of wearability” is Martens’s m.o. here, and everything from logo tees to metal foil evening dresses got the treatment. The latter rivaled the gowns he made for the Jean Paul Gaultier haute couture collection he did for spring 2022, which is still the highpoint of that collaboration series.

Martens said his inspiration was the architecture of Bruges. This wasn’t the first time he mentioned his Belgian hometown; two Junes ago, when he was still showing Y/Project during the men’s collections, he also brought up the place. This time, he said, “the longer I’m staying away from home the more I’m actually connected. I really kind of envisioned this as like Gothic towers in the middle of the Belgian fields.” To this untrained eye, the relationship seemed tangential at best, though that’s no demerit.

For the non-architecturally inclined, he reproduced the twists and twirls of his more three-dimensional designs in prints on silk “to be a bit more easy to wear.” They included scans of folds, pleats, and distressed lace; the lace print on a slip, in particular, will remind Gen Xers of Martin Margiela’s iconic photocopy dresses. As Martens came out for his bow it wasn’t just the fashion kids that cheered.

This article was originally published on Vogue Runway.

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