by Jeremy Danté

as a creative force that i respect & admire, olivier theyskens segues into the campaign sector for the fall/winter 2012 season. cast as the brands face for the fall is DNA model management’s elise crombez. following my meghan collison for proenza post, crombez also shared casting credits with collison last season for the house of prada. lovely to see elise gaining greater model traction in the form of landing a solo campaign for a on-the-rise brand like theyskens’ theory. while the clothes are almost hidden through the campaigns dark direction, the overall execution of the campaign is so accurate to theyskens’ own presence on the runway. the way the light is in soft focus, the contorted poses from the backseat of a car- it’s beautiful. beautiful not in the commercialized or expected sense, but beautiful in that it’s interesting.

one aspect i completely respect of theyskens is his ability to remain true to himself, his ability to act in complete faith of his creative vision. if you look at the archived work during his tenure at the house of nina ricci, you see similar silhouettes which are visible in his work at theory. if you go back even further to his remarkable work at the rochas, you’ll come away thinking of fashion in a new light. theyskens served as artistic director for fashion label, the rochas from 2002 to his discontinuation in 2006. within that 4 year period, he completely reinvented the label; supplying them with celebrity clientele in the form of nicole kidman, jennifer aniston, kirsten dunst, kate bosworth, jennifer lopez & sarah jessica parker. his work was praised by fashion critics as he was awarded the international style award by the council of fashion designers of america (CFDA) in 2006. after the announcement of the houses closure, many were left shocked. at that time, fashion had begun to take on a new format. it was rapdily becoming more & more about business and figures, less about creativity. theyskens was fearless in his approach in many forms with his work with the rochas. he was noted for not relying on the sale of accessories or lower priced diffusion collections in order to bring in big bucks, which many big labels aim their focus in today’s fashion industry. in fact, some of his designs were considered somewhere between ready-to-wear and couture, which is referred to as ‘demicouture‘. with dresses ranging upwards of $20k while at the rochas, one would wonder how profitable truly high end designs are when the middle market is completely ignored. theyskens was fearless enough to try it.

shortly after the discontinuation of the rochas fashion division, theyskens landed in an artistic directing role at the house of nina ricci, which he flourished in from 2006-2009, when he left the label. speculation pointed the finger at higher ups at ricci for the reason theyskens departed. the designs olivier had created with the house were reportedly the source of creative differences which ultimately resulted in his exiting of the house. as short as his stint at nina ricci was, theyskens was praised for his approach which aimed at a younger demographic & his fall 2009 collection for the house was among the most visible in fashion editorial, being seen in every glossy around the globe. his departure was quite the conversational piece in the world of high fashion & was extremely dissapointing seeing as the house of nina ricci needed a new design direction. shortly after his exit at ricci, theyskens’ next design home was being speculated by fashion news outlets around the internet. in 2011, it was announced that theory chief executive officer, andrew rosen had contracted theyskens to create what we now know as theyskens theory, hence the campaign we see above. the capsule collection soon followed an announcement by theory that theyskens was being installed as the brand’s artistic director, a home which has seemed to be working well for him. this FW12 collection reminds me a lot of theyskens’ spring 2009 collection which he designed while at the house of nina ricci. granted the aesthetic is much darker for the fall, the use of textile & the mindful modernization of silhouette is ever present. i’ve had my eye on the theyskens very closely, waiting for him to find a creative home where he is able to flourish and it seems like theory is just that.


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