Christian Wijnants, presented his new collection autumn-winter 2019/20 in Paris. In this collection, Christian Wijnants departs on a journey that is solely his own, this time to the private utopia of his youth. A child of the seventies, Wijnants sought inspiration in the music and films — from chanteur Serge Gainsbourg to cult horror flicks — that shaped his founding years.
The collection draws on these childhood recollections, resulting in a strikingly emotional and intimist offering for upcoming fall. Wijnants’ memories are defiantly happy ones as he opts for a resolutely bright fall palette. Remaining true to his reputation of gifted colourist, he embraces an array of intense hues: ultra-feminine fluid dresses in acid green and soft pink are off-set by knitted skirt-sweater options in electric mauve and baby blue.
In a nod to the seventies, he plays with tone-on-tone ensembles in mustard tartan and forest green corduroy. The backdrop to this bout of seventies nostalgia is the work of Expressionist painter Alice Neel, lauded for her whimsical colour palette and generous use of brushstrokes. Her intimate portraits of her circle of friends — from intellectuals and writers over lovers to family members — offer new perspectives on Wijnants’ signature knit-and-print oeuvre. Graphic prints appear to be painted by hand in zig-zag strokes on fuchsia and lime intarsia scarves, draped for comfort as blankets over knit dresses.
Meanwhile, florals take an emotive turn, informed by the playful spontaneity of childhood drawings, irregularly declined on loose-fitting jumpsuits and utility jackets. At the forefront for this season is an updated proposition of definitive tailoring. Structured overcoats in a cavalcade of motifs and qualities are worn over loose, co-ord pantsuits, embedded with a sense of poetic irreverence by simple floral touches. The label’s first menswear capsule, set to debut this year, resonates as masculine elements abound in often more languid, androgynous silhouettes.
For the first time ever, Christian Wijnants shows at a Paris Hôtel particulier: its historical splendour serves as a romantic response to the manifold garçon manqué striding its halls. As they walk a final round, the collection appears as a movie reel. In the closing scene, Wijnants cuts up cable knits, hand-painted prints and flower imprimés into effortless knitwear patchwork dresses — a novel collage of best-offs for the Antwerp atelier.
Photos: Christian Wijnants / Voltem Magazine