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Christian Wijnants

Christian Wijnants arranged his collection within a Marais gallery so logically—palette progression, complementary groupings—that you might have believed you were in a store. Go figure, the Antwerp-based designer plans to open his first in his home city come early September. Conceived by Andreas Bozarth Fornell, Acne Studios’ go-to retail architect, it will combine natural and artificial elements as a reflection of Wijnants’ material focus.

And because his Resort collection will begin to arrive just as he is settling in, Wijnants realized there needed to be enough variety for women new to his label—not to mention his expanding international market. As usual, many of his core pieces emerged from fabric development; a coat in linen bonded to scuba material deserves a mention for its form-retaining softness. Crochet flowers creeping up a shift dress floated off their striped surface. He used the resin sculptures of artist Rachel Whitehead as the starting point for a translucent, rose-hued hooded coat. As Wijnants highlighted his key looks—a fabric-blocked linen jacquard dress with a decorative fil coupe panel was notably attractive—he kept reinforcing that the elongated chemises looked as fresh with slouched pants as they did with bare legs. Similarly, the stripped-down kimono-style jackets conveyed uncompromising ease. The doodled prints, all created separately, looked surprisingly harmonious when united as a single outfit. Fabric sandals or printed heels? Wijnants believes silhouette dictates style. All these parts hold up nicely on their own, but impress even more when you see how they relate to each other—and when someone (Wijnants or those under his watch) is present as a guide. Which is why a stand-alone shop makes sense: He is eager to see his clothes altogether in a space he controls. Certainly from this vantage point, he’s ready.

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