Glenn Martens presented his debut A/W12 collection in Paris this March. A Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp graduate from Bruges in Belgium, he dissected all his loves to create an architectural collection, without losing the comfort and, most importantly, the elegance. Here, he speaks to AnOther about starting points, juxtapositions and hopes for the future.
What was the message you wanted to tell the world with your debut collection?
This collection is the first of many more to come. As this was my debut, I wanted to pinpoint the aesthetics of the label. A bit like a manual of how to 'read' Glenn Martens, now and in the future. It seemed logical to have my personal world as a starting point. I dissected everything I've ever loved – I realised it often relates back to Bruges, the city I grew up in. This town has a unique vibe of a historic metropolis that fell asleep during Renaissance, re-invented as a modern hot spot for mass-tourism. It's quite a surreal place to live in. You'll find the aggressiveness of the neon lights and commercial tags of tourist traps bathing in the austere and elegant shadows of the town's Gothic architecture. I love these juxtapositions.
"My debut collection is a bit like a manual of how to 'read' Glenn Martens, now and in the future"
Your collection was very versatile - masculine work wear, feminine sheer fabric and knitwear all tied in very naturally. Is this something you were conscious of and wanted to achieve?
This relates directly to that fascination for duality. I have used sheer or particularly feminine materials for more masculine pieces. I try to present clothes which are adaptable for the individual. Presenting a pure elegance would have been to obvious. Nevertheless I always strive for elegance and by combining certain silhouettes, or by styling with a different shoe, you'll always reach an ultra feminine wardrobe.
All the trousers had a very original pleated cut in the front with a clever use of zippers. Is this method something you want to continue?
I'm obsessed with experimenting with construction. I've always loved the nonchalant look of low slung crotch pants. Still, as good as they may look from the front, I think the back is not always as flattering. With that pleat work I'm reaching a low front crotch with a nicely tailored butt. This detail is already included in some sketches for next summer's collection.
What are your current inspirations?
Art forms the never ending source of inspiration. Recently, I've been slightly obsessed by collages of Balint Zsako or the sculptures of David Altmejd.I also look at classic art, some of my favourites include Gustave Moreau, Hans Memling or Ferdinand Knopff. And I love listening to Portishead while I work.
Do you have a dream as a designer?
As long as I'll always be able to do what I'm doing right now, without any constrains, having the possibility to develop the brand with as much creative freedom as possible, I'll be happy. I really enjoy collaborations and meeting new people.
Photography: Ania Wawrzkowicz
Styling and interview: Nobuko Tannawa
Hair: Mari Ohashi using Bumble & Bumble
Make-up: Nobuko Maekawa using Chanel S 2012 and Hydra Beauty Skincare
Set design: Ania Wawrzkowicz and Nobuko Tannawa
Model: Sophie Yall @ IMG
Photographer's assistant: Andrea DiCenzo
All clothes by Glenn Martens
Shot at Yellow Studio