Olivier Theyskens for Theory collection – the verdict!

09 August 2011

Now a full season underway, the team that brought the world Theyskens Theory have had the chance to reconvene and decide how well the designer collaboration is working out. In a detailed evaluation plus profiles of the protagonists in the New York Times, the working relationship between the ‘demi-couturier’ and the mid-market minimalist brand is examined – and pronounced very healthy.

For starters, Theyskens is thrilled to have been set free from the tyranny of designing four figure evening gowns, for a change. ‘I can do just the cleanest black pant,’ Theyskens said, sounding enthusiastic. While that may sound very different from designing ball gowns, ‘it’s not that different,’ he said, noting that his first collection in the 1990s had simple tailoring. ‘Since Day One,’ Mr. Theyskens said, many of his designs have been ‘more discreet.’

So that must be the secret of Theyskens for Theory’s success. The fairly commercial pieces – on paper at least - like corduroy flares, simple blouses, a maxi skirt with an oil-on-water texture, but cut in the most perfect way. Although many in the biz were disappointed with the circumstances that meant the Belgian wunderkind dropped out of the high fashion circuit, after contracts at Rochas and then Nina Ricci were not renewed, upsetting Anna Wintour, among others, who commented in her magazine; ‘that the vital role of artistic talent has been obscured in the current economic climate. My staff and I were shocked to learn that Theyskens’s contract would not be renewed’ – it seems that Olivier is no fashion snob. Although he’s enjoyed great press support since leaving college – he studied fashion in Brussels and his name is still touted when top designers move on or are sacked, he hasn’t expressed any desire to go back to the world of big brand fashion houses – or even his own line – any time soon.

The collection has sold well for them, according to Andrew Rosen, the founder of Theory; ‘We want Olivier to understand that a lot of what he’s doing is working but some things aren’t.’ And Theyskens seems to like the feedback — apparently, his debut Theyskens' Theory was bought nearly in its entirety. ‘It’s the first time ever,’ as his high end design jobs meant that only his evening gowns would go into production, not the collections as a whole. He even likes living in New York as opposed to Paris, these days. He had hoped ‘that maybe one day I would have an apartment in the city.’ His voice trailed off. He smiled, adding: ‘It came quicker than I thought.’

Oooh – and check out the NEXT season of Theyskens Theory – as modelled by Malgosia Bela in their new campaign

- Naomi Attwood


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