Written by Ian Thompson | 25 October 2017
The exhibition follows the career of Theyskens starting in 1997 with his own work, through to Rochas in 2003, Nina Ricci in 2007, Theory in 2010 and back to his current collection. Bonaveri’s Tribe Collection is used throughout the exhibition and showcases the collection’s ability to infuse itself within a fashion narrative. The many variable poses of the Tribe female mannequins are successfully shown here grouped together with singular views achieved by offering glimpses around the exhibition layout. Tribe is composed of a series of mannequins rather than a single character, each with its own identity – unlike a traditional collection that explores a single character in multiple poses, Tribe is a series of characters captured in their own stance. By combining each of the characters, the Tribe female mannequins offer a vitality that has been used to great advantage in this exhibition.
Olivier Theyskens debuted as an independent designer in 1998 and is often lauded as one of Belgium’s foremost fashion designers. His work is often described as ‘dark romantic’, imbued with Gothic undertones, setting him apart from many of his contemporaries. His unique style is evident in this latest exhibition, where a sense of surrealism is crafted into a tactile and sensual mix of fabrics. There is a powerful contrast in the fabrics and forms that generates a movement, excitement and thrill in the forms – something that Theyskens has been evidently aware of throughout his career.
By exploring these tactile, surreal ideas, Theyskens has generated a unique signature that is borne out by his use of multiple materials; plastic, recycled and processed textiles, combining with more traditional taffeta and chiffon. As is the case with many young designers, their early childhood experiments involved cuttings and collections of disparate fabrics, often found and combined into compositions. These naive constructions often form the basis of a deeper respect for form and fabric that later generates the sophisticated creations that Theyskens is now a master of.
‘Olivier Theyskens – She walks in Beauty‘ is on at MoMu Antwerp until the 18th of March 2018.
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