Perhaps it was the wimplelike head wraps or literal sackcloth skirt, but Josephus Thimister's models often seemed like they'd been transported through time and space from a medieval convent to a slightly sweaty industrial garage in the middle of Paris.
To be fair, that sort of spartan and severe quality has always characterized the Belgian designer's work throughout his long, albeit spotty, years. And this, his second consecutive season of putting ready-to-wear on a runway after a very extended break, followed in the vein of last season's military-tinged masculine/feminine mash-up of webby knits, harem pants, and kimono-sleeved jackets. Still, for all that heft, the show began on a summery note, with pale gauzy crinkle cotton blouses left long to trail out of soft jackets and over drapey pants, all worn with simple flat leather sandals. These were grounded with rough leather belts, some corset-wide and triple-buckled, others strapped with little pouches.
Though the palette soon darkened to earthy brown and black, Thimister, like many designers, is always trying to find equilibrium between hard and soft. He achieved that here with more sharply tailored jackets, occasionally flipped and deconstructed inside out, and monastic high-collared shirting. It's something he does with both womenswear and men's, of which there was far less here today. On the whole, it wasn't a new proposal, but a smart merchandiser would go straight to those haremlike pants and pretty pleated silk jackets with kimono sleeves. And add to that a sporty, crisp white trench with flaring sleeves—it seemed like an aberration, but nonetheless one with an off-runway life. What to leave out: Thimister's one-legged hybrid floor-length skirt and shorts. Good for no one, except maybe a nun on the run.