Hands-Up: Olivier Theyskens (Azzaro Couture)

January 24, 2022
Courtesy: Laurence Benaïm

Golden Fingers

Karl Lagerfeld warned him to learn how to draw with his left hand because his right hand was in pain. After many yoga sessions, Olivier Theyskens now knows how to do so, stating that the hand “is the finest instrument there is.” Here he is in the Azzaro showroom, where silver sequins and liquid gold satins evoke the meeting of the sun and the moon, that of softness and brilliance, of the masculine and feminine. “I like to model, sculpt, carve,” he says. It is as though he is inventing mirrors through the dresses, as though he is touching a magic button, transporting you to the ’70s, yet freed from nostalgia.  Theyskens draws on his iPad, and comes back to the line – that is to say to the white page to make it rain crystal, and to make a shirt a the happy-hour hue of Bourbon on the rocks. With a scalpel, he takes a piece from the hip of a dress; within this empty space, he lets us imagine a body dressed in the nude. One sheath becomes a column of light; another a dive into an unreal pool – one doesn’t know if it is made of velvet or sequins. Between minimal tunics and elongated trousers, small sequins appear on stretch lame. The illusion coincides with tactile play – from matte to shiny, from structured to fluid, from oceanic to mineral, from black to chameleon. One thinks of this extraordinary moiré trench coat in the great artisanal tradition.  It’s midnight, Dr Theyskens.  The man whom Japanese weavers have nicknamed “Golden Fingers” knows how to feel the presence of a tiny percentage of cashmere in jersey with his fingertips: “I like to feel my hands in the fabrics; the idea of having a digital shape floating in front of me doesn’t suit me.

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