In an attempt to go back to his roots, Belgian designer Glenn Martens launched his debut eponymous label, inspired by early Netherlandish art. A graduate from the Antwerp Royal Academy of Fine Arts, baby-faced Martens went on to work for Jean-Paul Gaultier, Yohann Sefarty, as well as hip German ready-to-wear brand Weekday.
The dramatic presentation, held in a dark loft space, consisted of plenty of video projections, baroque music, and a vintage carpet used as a backdrop. Models marched around in elongated, earth-tone designs reminiscent of Hugo Van Der Goes paintings and their gaunty subjects. The subtly sporty lines and elaborate pleats were given a modern twist with platform sneakers and deconstructed, dusty silk bomber jackets.
Fashionista spoke to Glenn Martens about Belgian elegance and modern-day Bruges.
Is there a specific theme to the collection?
There isn’t a single theme. The collection came from a reflection of what I love in life and where I come from. I’m from Bruges, which has become a touristic hot spot, but more importantly, has an important history of art – and it’s this past I wanted to express.
How would you describe the style?
It’s quite strict isn’t it? I would say it has lots of long, vertical lines, which reinforce a certain elegance. Yet the clothes aren’t too rigid, I’ve added lots of slits and layers to make them an easy wear. For example, trousers have wide pockets and elasticized waistlines, pleated skirts are made in stretchy organza and never lose their shape.
Is there a specific piece you’re especially proud of?
There is a pair of trousers that has an extra zipped up flap at the front, for a flat, tomboy look, but is tapered behind. The result looks boyish on front, but gives a nice little bum at the back!
Is there such a thing as Belgian chic?
In school, we were told Belgian chic is intellectual chic. It’s definitely more austere.
Video: Theo Gennistakis/Pressure