Olivier Theyskens: She Walks in Beauty

Image of Olivier Theyskens: She Walks in Beauty
Release Date: 
February 13, 2018
Rizzoli Electa
Reviewed by: 

It is a rare, if not an improbable occurrence, that a reader/reviewer/fashionphile can call a monograph such as Olivier Theyskens: She Walks in Beauty a haunting, moody, poetic, and yet wildly enlightening reading experience. Yet those are apt descriptors making me wish that twenty years ago I was paying more attention to this brilliant young designer.

In today’s world of fashion there are few if any designers who can boast a full skillset of talents that include sketching, sewing, patternmaking, fitting, and everything else you can think of when it comes to the back rooms of fashion. As if that isn’t enough to know about Theyskens then it must be told that he is self-taught . . . no formal schooling in fashion or at least that he ever saw through to completion. At a time when fashion hatches poseurs as designers, Theyskens is a rare bird indeed.

“Gifted with both mathematical and an artistic mindset, Theyskens masters the technique of cutting and understands the fine points of pattern making; he enjoys sewing and endlessly exploring the many equations that exist between volume, fabrics of different textures and weights, and the body that will make I tall come to life.”

The book serves as a catalog for an all-inclusive exhibit of the world of Olivier Theysksens now taking place in Antwerp at MoMu and closing in April. It can be easily said that this catalog is no dry read of empirical facts but rather an engaging history and story of a young man’s trajectory into the world of international fashion. The reader is guaranteed to come away with far more knowledge than when they began reading about his meteoric rise and then his life changing decision almost 20 years after he started.

Unquestionably this is a book that should be read and in some cases should be required reading for those who believe that their future lies in the world of fashion as a real designer and not as an impostor of a designer. Theyskens is every bit as modern as one can conjure and every bit as old school as so many of those who came before him.  

If there is a negative to the book it would be that his “handwritten notes” needed to be more legible as they are bit difficult to navigate.