Jan-Jan Van Essche Men’s Spring 2023

Jan-Jan Van Essche’s collection was like an ode to slowing down, a far cry from the frenetic pace of fashion’s seasons. At his first Paris presentation since the beginning of the pandemic, this sensation was accentuated thanks to a performance by Lithuanian musician Indrė Jurgelevičiūtė, whose melodies combine soundscapes and folk songs with a Kanklès, a traditional Lithuanian harp.

As ever, the Antwerp-based designer built his framework from open shapes and free forma. “The body shapes the garment, not the other way around,” he explained. “If things are not very detailed, the focus is the fabric.”

This season, he sought to breathe a sense of lightness into the collection, starting with the fabrics themselves. A blend of cotton and Japanese paper yarn with a crisp hand was shaped into a minimalist version of a bomber jacket, dyed khaki with a mixture of ink and turmeric. A knotted linen formed an oversized, full-length mesh shirt, whispering sensuality with its rough-hewn transparency.

Black and white striped fabrics or spotted indigo, used for overalls, wide pants and kimono jackets, for example, suggested comfort and familiarity of a soulful sort.

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