Theyskens Theory

I am mourning the passing of the Theyskens Theory line. From now on, it will be folded into the main Theory line.

As background: Theory has always been a great source for stylish careerwear, but not always the most exciting. Theory asked Olivier Theyskens, a rather artsy Belgian designer, to design a capsule for spring 2011. After that, they hired him as their artistic director. His influence was definitely seen in the main Theory line but he continued making Theyskens Theory as a separate collection, showing at fashion week.

As of this year, Theory decided it made more sense to merge the two and have Olivier Theyskens' more fashion-forward designs shown at fashion week as part of the Theory line. I don't know yet how it'll translate to what's in the stores. In the past, Theyskens Theory was carried at just a few department stores, separate from Theory. Perhaps it'll mean the main Theory line expands to be less basic, continuing in the direction they've gone for the past few years - not a bad change.

Anyway, I'm sad about this for three reasons, mostly personal and emotional not practical.

First, Theyskens Theory came on the scene soon after I got interested in fashion. His designs, especially in the first few seasons, were so, so me - that was a year when styles were trending darker and a bit avant garde, so it lined up well with my aesthetic. It helped shape my style and it gave me a relatively affordable, accessible source of slightly edgy clothes. I ended up with a handful of his pieces bought on clearance, and I'd love to buy more from those first few seasons. So I have an emotional connection to it.

Second, I just looked at the Theory runway show from today at Fashion Week and it's certainly a bit more mainstream and low key than his previous shows. Still excellent, but less inspiring. My wardrobe needs don't include businesswear (suits, etc) and I'm not so sure Theory will keep making the more casual or edgy pieces from Theyskens. 

And third, a purely practical irritation: Theyskens pieces were cut to a different model than Theory. Theory runs very small and isn't exactly shaped like me, though it's quite close. Theyskens Theory always fit me perfectly. (Except that one silk tee I got stuck in, in a fitting room!)

It's probably a good business decision: Theory will shift a little more fashion-forward and keep up with the competition. I'm not sure how commercially successful the Theyskens line was. I always saw things on deep clearance at the Rack and Outnet (good for me!).

But I'm still sad!

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • deb replied 6 years ago

    Interesting, thank you for the info.

  • shevia replied 6 years ago

    Wow! I have been wondering about the background of Theyskens Theory and Theory and that summed it up beautifully. As you know I am a fan of the former (as well as the latter), and the point about the fit model explains something that has been confusing me about the fit of TT vs. T. Time to stalk ebay I guess!

  • Greyscale replied 6 years ago

    I'm just guessing about the fit model, but it must be true. I'm a 0 in Theyskens Theory and a 2 or 4 in Theory. I don't mind the higher number, but the fit is also different.

  • shevia replied 6 years ago

    Ok, well the TT boyfriend blazer turns out to be a 2 and fits me. My sister brought me a Theory Lanai size 6 and in a spooky turn of events last week I thrifted a Theory Gabe B (original) in size 8 (for $3). All of this will probably be the subject of my next post. The Lanai fits awkwardly and is both too big and too small, the Gabe B fits perfectly imho. So your suggestion makes a lot of sense to me.

  • Suz replied 6 years ago

    Wow, this is fascinating in the extreme. Thank you for this run down. I now share some of your sadness. I do not own any Theyksen's Theory but I can tell you  thatI have wanted to own it. And now I learn that it would probably have fit me quite well, too? GAH. What you say about the fit models differing does make sense. I did try on a few pieces at Century 21 last summer. They didn't have my size, unfortunately, but even so I could guess the fit was different from the regular line. 

    Okay. Here is my hope. My hope is that they stop making pants in the urban stretch fabric they used this year as a result of all this. And fix the cuts!! 

    I feel like I want to stalk some of this stuff on ebay now, too. 

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