Slow Fashion The Theyskens Way

Amid the chaos of Paris Fashion Week, one designer showed his Spring 2023 in a quiet Parisian courtyard. It was charming, almost a French cliché, with resident cat Mignonette slinking about. The clothes were on mannequins to let viewers peruse the garments in a 360 degrees manner and without the usual chaos associated with high-profile fashion brands. For the press, buyers, and clients in attendance, it was a welcome respite and even an antidote to today’s maddening fashion cycles.
The designer Olivier Theyskens is also quiet and gentle in his persona. His design acumen and artistry, however, are not. The Belgian-born designer first made waves by dressing Madonna in goth-inspired dramatic gowns. He worked for major French houses Rochas and Nina Ricci and then applied his signature style to the American mass market brand Theory. These days his approach to his designs and brand has taken a turn.
“I wanted to bring my POV regarding craft but keep it modern,” he said in an interview over Zoom following his latest collection debut. “Something I want to express, especially in the collection, is attention to detail.” The designer was referring to the patchwork dresses core to the collection for the past three seasons by design.
“I used to make big changes between collections, but with this concept, I wanted to work on it to explore and improve it, so I needed time,” he offered, adding, “It was a fantasy to do a triptych and deploy in three collections something that makes a story.”
The designer also had a pragmatic reason for showing this way. “We were just out of Covid, so it was practical to do it this way,” he said. Practicality also came into play with the designers’ approach to sustainability. The patchwork dresses were made from fabric swatch cards in great abundance in any design studio. After meticulously removing them from the packaging and sorting them by color and weight, the designer assembled them like an art collage to become a new textile.

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