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Backstage at Y/Project, Where the Soundtrack Is as Good as the Clothes

Via Vogue.com

Text by Mark Holgate Photography by Luca Tombolini

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Some shows, it’s all about the clothes. Some shows, it’s about the clothes and the audience. And then there are other shows—ones where you’re always really happy to be present—that are about the clothes, the audience, and the soundtrack. That rare latter category is where Y/Project, led by Glenn Martens, belongs. Note the use of led; yep, he’s the designer, all right, but he’s also someone who thinks in a more collaborative, community-based way, a kind of ego-free, unfettered, and honest style of working that feels totally in tune with the times. “Our brand is all about collaboration,” says Martens, calling from his cell phone while on a shoot in Paris. “I work with shoe designers, jewelry designers, the stylist Ursina Gysi . . . I don’t think I can be king of everything. We have a blind trust in one another.”

Another participant in all this: Musician Elliot Berthault of the brilliant experimental Paris electro quartet Rendez-Vous, a kind of Cabaret Voltaire de nos jours, who has been creating the soundtracks for the label’s shows since early on. You can hear a previously unreleased Rendez-Vous track playing as the soundtrack of this backstage video from the Fall 2017 Y/Project collection shown in Paris last month, which was directed by Grégoire Dyer—a song from a performance the band did recently at the Centre Georges Pompidou. As for the music for the show, Berthault put together Blood Axis’s “The Gospel of Inhumanity”; “I Just Wanna Puke on the Stereo” by The Frumpies; a slowed-down version of “In the Air Tonight” by Phil Collins that Berthault mixed; and Shaggy’s “Boombastic.”

From that list alone, you’d be right in thinking there are pretty eclectic tastes at work here, something that Martens and Berthault share. The designer and musician, who were, says Martens, friends before they were collaborators, “partying together, going to bars together, celebrating birthdays together,” are wide open musically. The designer’s iTunes contains everything from classical French baroque and Britney Spears to Radiohead and Georges Brassens, while Berthault’s approach to their music making is, he says, “inspired by really different genres. It’s this that makes our era stand out. The limitless accessibility and diversity; we are not forced to stick to a trend or genre.”

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