Photography Les Cyclopes Styling Laetitia Crahay and Olivier Theyskens Make-up Max Delorme Hair Stéphane Lancien Model Linda Byrne
Belgian designer Olivier Theyskens is an art-school drop-out. While a student at La Cambre in Brussels, Theyskens reasoned that the creative laissez-faire attitude could not prepare him for the realties of the fashion world where a collection needed to be created every six months whether the spirit moved you or not (sound logic for someone only twenty-two years old). He took the collection that would have served as his senior thesis and presented it on the runway in Germany. Shortly thereafter, he was catapulted, sort of, to fame when Madonna appeared in one of Theyskens’ dramatic black satin coats at the Academy Awards. Sort of, because none of the 87 million viewers at home had any idea who Theyskens was and because the coat Madonna was wearing was alternatively misattributed to both Gaultier and Versace. Even as the rest of the world struggles with the pronunciation of his name, Theyskens has attracted the likes of goth rocker Marilyn Manson and Hole’s Melissa Auf de Maur with his gothic ball gowns (now his trademark), split at the seams and refastened with industrial-looking hooks and eyes salvaged from his grandmother’s attic, as well as his black leather corsets and bizarre jumpsuits. If there is humour in Theyskens’ collections, it’s of the dark variety. His choice of venue is a vacant parking garage with glaring neon lights flickering madly overhead. He has created a Hitchcockian dress that is a frenzy of attacking birds, and another smothered in funeral black flowers. He has made jackets with strands of real hair streaming down the back; ball gowns made from cheerful gingham or chintzy toile de jouy, the top and bottom halves slashed apart and reconnected by a disturbing cage-like contraption; and a catsuit made of fur Theyskens stitched together with blood-red thread. Couture, the young designer concedes, can be too serious. He prefers to take this idea of what is chic and trash it up. Plastic and fur? Why not? All of his medieval antics aside, however, Theyskens turns serious when it comes to the way things are made, turning out extremely technical, impeccably crafted gowns on his own Singer sewing machine at home in Brussels. A little Christian Dior, a little Dr. Frankenstein, Theyskens has created an elegant raw brand of couture, breaking apart the old rules of etiquette and putting them back together again in his own image.
Visionaire’s Fashion 2001: Designers of the New Avant-Garde by Stephen Gan
Fashion Show Nº18, Women’s Collection Spring–Summer 1997
Michele Hicks and Linda Byrne
The figure, slender and distinct, has lengthened. The waist is emphasised, embellished with transparent skirts playing on superimpositions and scattered with sequins and engineered embroidery. From under dresses of vaporous chiffon or short pinafores appear long, wide trousers, sweeping the ground.Fluidity is revealed also through materials and cuts.
Dries Van Noten, 01–50 Golden Anniversary
Fashion Images de Mode Nº3 (1998)
Linda Byrne for Olivier Theyskens
photography les cyclopes
Mode 2001 Landed-Geland, Flanders Fashion Institute
curator walter van beirendonck
2000 (minus 3)
Curator and Fashion Director Terry Jones Production Design Dante Ferretti
Fashion/Cinema, Biennale di Firenze (1998)
fall–winter 1999–2000, véronique branquinho
photography raf coolen
moi, veronique branquinho toute nue
fall–winter 1998–1999, hussein chalayan
postcards from the edge of the catwalk
photography iain r webb
note: did i get the model tags properly? i don’t know the one on the far right.
flat garment – tank, martin margiela
photography eric traoré