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Olivier Theyskens Retrospective Bows at MoMu

ANTWERP, Belgium — “It marks the closing of a perfect 20-year cycle,” said Olivier Theyskens during a preview Wednesday of his retrospective “Olivier Theyskens: She Walks in Beauty” at the MoMu fashion museum here, which traces in strict chronological order the five key phases of his career.
Named after a line from the poem penned by George Gordon Byron, aka Lord Byron, in 1813, as a piece that chimes with Theyskens’ own penchant for dark romance and historical references, the show — organized as a series of graphic black-and-white spaces that the visitor walks through, with Theyskens’ creations grouped in powerful tableaus on podiums — follows the designer’s evolution from the creation of his namesake line in 1997 to his explorations of French elegance at Rochas and Nina Ricci, from 2003 to 2006 and 2006 to 2009 respectively, followed by a curveball three-and-a-half-year stint at American sportswear label Theory from 2010, and wraps with pieces from the current fall collection of his resurrected signature line. Positioned as a prêt-à-porter brand with a “couture spirit,” the new direction is a little purer in essence but with all the signatures in place, including Theyskens’ deceptively simple tailor’s cuts.
Highlights of the show include a

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