Wijnants' memories are defiantly happy ones as he opts for a resolutely bright fall palette. Remaining true to his reputation of gifted colourist, he embraces an array of intense hues: ultra-feminine fluid dresses in acid green and soft pink are off-set by knitted skirt-sweater options in electric mauve and baby blue. In a nod to the seventies, he plays with tone-on-tone ensembles in mustard tartan and forest green corduroy.
The backdrop to this bout of seventies nostalgia is the work of Expressionist painter Alice Neel, lauded for her whimsical colour palette and generous use of brushstrokes. Her intimate portraits of her circle of friends — from intellectuals and writers over lovers to family members — offer new perspectives on Wijnants' signature knit-and-print oeuvre.
Graphic prints appear to be painted by hand in zig-zag strokes on fuchsia and lime intarsia scarves, draped for comfort as blankets over knit dresses. Meanwhile, florals take an emotive turn, informed by the playful spontaneity of childhood drawings, irregularly declined on loose-fitting jumpsuits and utility jackets.
At the forefront for this season is an updated proposition of definitive tailoring. Structured overcoats in a cavalcade of motifs and qualities are worn over loose, co-ord pantsuits, embedded with a sense of poetic irreverence by simple floral touches. The label's first menswear capsule, set to debut this year, resonates as masculine elements abound in often more languid, androgynous silhouettes.
For the first time ever, Christian Wijnants showed at a Paris Hôtel particulier: its historical splendour serves as a romantic response to the manifold garçon manqué striding its halls. As they walk a final round, the collection appears as a movie reel. In the closing scene, Wijnants cuts up cable knits, hand-painted prints and flower imprimés into effortless knitwear patchwork dresses — a novel collage of best-offs for the Antwerp atelier.
The collection will be available from June 2019 in selected stores, in the flagship store at Steenhouwersvest 36, Antwerp and on www.christianwijnants.com.