Of all the things Jan-Jan Van Essche celebrates in his designs, texture and textile come first.
His pieces are flowing and nondescript, but undeniably well-made. A quick peek at his construction reveals the hand of a textile genius, who only needs two or three seams to form an exquisite piece. His lightweight wool chiffon and silken cottons sit lightly on the skin, while still being an excellent layer for cooler weather to come. Though the collection is rendered largely in black, a vein of ochre runs through this delivery – an ode to all things earthy.
For fall, Jan-Jan found inspiration in Pina Bausch’s ballet, “The Rite of Spring.” During this performance, dancers draped in white cotton glide across a stage covered in soil – a visual feast celebrating the seasonal rhythms of the natural world. As the dancers turn, leap and tumble, the dirt smudges across their bodies like ceremonial paint.
Jan-Jan revels in the same raw qualities that drew Pina – the richness of color, the indomitability of the human spirit, the inevitable evolutions of the self and the purity of the natural world. Just as we are shaped by the environment around us, so do we shape our wardrobes.
Rather than try to redefine personal style, Jan-Jan Van Essche designs his works to seamlessly integrate into the world of the person wearing them. This objective approach to design and purist treatment of fabric gifts his pieces a chameleon-like quality – they pair just as well with silk pants and patent leather loafers as they do with distressed jeans and a kicky pair of boots.
“I think if people feel relaxed and comfortable, that’s such a guarantee for beauty…”
— Jan-Jan Van Essche