Ester Manas and Balthazar Delepierre originally expected to pilot the digital reveal of their spring collection remotely from home in Brussels. A last-minute change of plans meant they were able to present the clothes physically, too, with a showroom display in the Marais District of Paris.
The duo even made their own mannequins, in generous body shapes reminiscent of fertility figures, to showcase the size-inclusive designs. The collection, titled “Superhuman,” is a tribute to both cartoon superheroes and the real-life women who inspire the designers.
A colorful crystal print on a black background was a nod to “Princess Gwenevere and the Jewel Riders,” one of the animated series Manas grew up watching. A bright orange explosion print, used on a belted jacket that flared out over the hips, was a tongue-in-cheek reference to “MacGyver.”
The duo doubled down on their signature body-hugging knit dresses and ruched dresses and tops, one of which incorporated a quilted version of their brand logo, a pair of clasped hands forming the combined letters E and M. “It’s a bit like the padded abs on Superman’s suit,” Delepierre said.
That emblem is also embossed on their first line of handbags, which will retail for between 240 euros and 450 euros. “I think it’s a good symbol of who we are, and sums up our message of solidarity and support,” Manas said.
The clothes are designed in a single size, which can be adjusted to fit the wearer — a concept that took them to the semifinals of this year’s LVMH Prize for Young Designers, and that has won over Printemps, which carries the brand on its recently launched e-commerce site.
A short film shows the outfits on models of various sizes, towering over urban and natural landscapes like giants. It made for a joyful manifesto, which ended with a call to arms: “If they can’t change the world, we will.”
Launch Gallery: Ester Manas RTW Spring 2021