When he related this point of view to the collection, naming all the miscellaneous references—from medieval to streetwear—it sounded more as if he were referring to dissociative identity disorder; but his point about “the freedom to do whatever we want” seemed fair enough. It certainly explained the denim chaps paired with a skin-toned turtleneck and a leather jacket held up by shoulder straps. Even removed from the subterranean concert venue, the collection oozed underground strangeness, seducing at certain moments (a comparatively conservative tunic sweater and khaki pants) and repelling at others (the high-waisted jeans will be a tough sell). Extra-long pants that collapsed at the ankles and surrealistically ill-fitting suits seemed to have been sucked into aTrainspotting trip—or else, let’s just dub them abnormcore. Yet unhinged need not mean unwearable: T-shirts, while largely hidden, featured brilliantly defaced 15th-century Flemish portraits with striking tattoo motifs. They should be sold in museum gift shops.
The chief issue with a “schizophrenic” collection is that it excuses Martens of reconciling the disparate parts, so that the broad-appeal outerwear—whether in Harris tweed or composed of shearling strips, each edge exposed—never quite aligned with rose-embroidered mesh shirts or fake snakeskin pants. Still, it’s worth noting that Y/Project was an early champion of gender ambiguity, and maybe this is where the bolder pieces belong. After asking an editor seatmate whether she believed guys would sport the chaps, she replied, “No, but girls might.”