We have all been obsessing about Rihanna’s Anti tour costumes right? While many established designers such as Armani, Adam Selman, Manolo Blahnik and Giuseppe Zanotti all have a place in the wardrobe, one designer in particular stands out: LMVH Prize nominated Glenn Martens for the French label Y/Project.
The Belgian designer graduated from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp in 2008 and spent a few years working for Jean Paul Gaultier before launching his namesake label in 2012 during Paris fashion week. In 2013, Martens moved to Y/Project after founder Yohan Serfaty sadly passed from cancer. Although the designer wanted preserve Serfaty’s legacy, last year, he told Vogue: “When I arrived I checked what Yohan used to do and it was very much in the direction of Rick Owens, which completely wasn’t my direction, but obviously as a small label you have to build on that existing identity. So we did it softly and had a slow transition based on Yohan. Roughness, sleek elegant silhouettes, drama and darkness became the base of the new.” Vogue also dubbed him to be “Normcore 2.0”.
Our digital director, Lars Byrresen Petersen met with the 32-year-old to discuss his recent LVMH-prize nomination, Rihanna and fashion in general.
Lars Byrresen Petersen: How do you get inspired by “normcore”?
Glenn Martens: I guess they’ve labelled us as normcore because we don’t really belong in a particular group. I take inspiration from any subculture or era possible. it’s big melting-pot of everything. I guess this makes us different and more difficult to grasp.
LBP: You were recently announced as a finalist of the 3rdLMVH Prize. What was your first reaction when you heard the news?
GM: Just being in the semi-finals, being selected out of a group of 1000 designers is already a massive honor. It’s amazing to have met all these professionals and when you hear they’ve selected you to go through the finals it’s just beyond anything I’d expect. It definitely confirms you’re doing a good job and that you’re going in the right direction
LBP: If you win, what are you most looking forward to? The prize money or the LVMH mentorship?
GM: We’re a small and young team doing what we feel is best. Both are obviously more than welcome but I have to admit I’m actually extra excited about the mentorship!
LBP: What do you think competitions like this do for the industry?
GM: It’s a huge push. Especially for the way of how you’re getting perceived. It gives that extra confirmation a young brand needs. You get more weight.
LBP: Do you have any plans to join the “see it now/buy it now”schedule that a few designers around the world has chosen recently?
GM: To follow this schedule, you need funds and a huge structure. Right now we’re already very happy focussing on making good clothes.
LBP: Rihanna’s final outfit of her ANTI tour is by you. What was the process like working with her and her stylist Mel Ottenberg?
GM: To have Mel’s support and trust is just beyond amazing. Rihanna wore some of our stuff last autumn so Mel exactly knew which direction he wanted me to go. I sketched some proposals and before I actually understood what was really happening she was wearing it on stage. It’s a quite unreel seeing such great artist performing in your clothes. She looks HOT!
LBP: Are you going to see her concert?
GM: Of course!
LBP: What is your favorite ANTI song?
GM: Today, I’d say “Same Ol’ mistakes”. Tomorrow, I’ll probably dig another track.
LBP: If looking to the past, what woman or man would you most like to see in Y/Project?
GM: When the show is done I let them go. There’s something super satisfying to see stylists and photographers create new things through clothes we’ve made, same counts for people wear them. They get a new life.