Emerging Belgian designer Marie Adam Leenaerdt has been labeled a brand to watch this season- and for good reason. Her work is marked by inspiration taken from the historical function and significance of garment making, and by the exploration of deconstruction to reconstruction. Leenaerdt opens this Paris Fashion Week with a collection of pieces that pay homage to the space between function and avant garde, austere and glam- conceptual reinterpretations of utilitarian craftsmanship. And all of this with a fun, pop-y, summery, sexy twist.
A trifold tanning mirror lays on the seat of each invitée, written across- “Caution: Sun Exposure Presents Risks.” Long simple strappy sundresses reveal butt-bearing one-pieces from behind. This is the only acceptable interpretation of business in the front, party in the back. Enormous leather totes are a bit reminiscent of pool bags large enough for everything but the kitchen sink. Although I doubt my dad’s sandy aqua shoes are swimming around the bottom of these between packets of chips and damp towels. It takes me a minute to realize that one model’s sunburn is an intentional detail.
Amongst menswear inspired tailoring in a subdued color pallet with nuanced odes to summer, a few more inspired pieces stand out; an all-over hockney-esque water print, a bubblegum pink silk kaftan, a kimono made of towels, and a sequined leopard bodysuit invite a little campy fun to the conversation. One of her more conceptual, avant garde looks incorporates a reinterpretation of an early 1900s bathing machine in which the beach-goer could change, enter, and exit the water without being seen. Imagine, a swimsuit at the beach- how frightful. Although, there have been circumstances in which I wish this were still a common practice…Bobbling down Leenaerdt’s runway is pinstriped rendition of the body-encompassing bathing machine.
It’s all quite clever. Together, the collection is a sleek, very Belgian, deconstructed, day at the beach