At Paris Fashion Week, don’t bodies and sets go hand in hand?



In what setting to show clothes to highlight them? Raised podium, museum transformed into a theater, total counting: at the last edition of fashion week, which runs in the capital until March 7, everyone is looking for the formula that best underlines their stylistic intention.

At Courrèges, a white box in the shape of a square with a central podium and an audience around it, imagined by the artist Rémy Brière, with the collective Matière noire, has been placed in the library on rue Santeuil (Paris 3e). The guests face each other until a screen of smoke veils the space. The models then cut through the fog, backlit by the light from the telephone that each holds in front of her, walking with her eyes fixed on the screen. “My inspiration was the street, all those people you meet in the metro, a little hunched over, holding their cellphones in their hands”, explains Nicolas Di Felice, who imagined the right outfit for such an activity with oversized Perfecto jackets with front slits so that the arms can be pulled out of the sleeves and bend the elbow comfortably when holding the phone. The builds of the striped blazers, shearling jackets or denim jackets are wide and rounded, the leather thigh-high boots merge with the trousers, the tight-fitting dresses reveal a navel or the plexus… the collection is teeming with good ideas and small steps of side that make this everyday wardrobe remarkable.

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A little smoke to give a mysterious and sensual scale to a fashion show? If anyone has ever used the trick, it’s Rick Owens. And reuse it. As for his men’s show, last January, he gathered his world in a hall of the Palais de Tokyo where the spectators are seated below a raised podium, their feet disappearing in a white smoke which spreads through silver pipes. Their heads tilt to see the silhouettes as always spectral and grandiloquent: here, sequined puffer jackets in chartreuse green or sugar-coated pink, soft and twisted like an eiderdown, frayed denim trains, leather or sequined capes disco. Between sacred and profane, cowls (hooded religious robes) in lambskin contrast with goddess robes split on the leg.

Rick Owens.

A slow ceremonial multiplied by the mirror

It is the same Palais de Tokyo that Cecilie Bahnsen, a Danish designer determined to find a place for herself in Paris, has invested in order to create a moment that resembles her. Light installation with colored neon tubes and live concert by singer Suki who, in her clear voice, details her sentimental wanderings. “She creates music as she would write her diary, and that speaks to me, because doing fashion is the same thing: it’s talking about yourself, exposing yourself”, explains Cecilie Bahnsen. She continues to offer large vaporous dresses with knots which have made her reputation and which are technical prowess in terms of textile research (the fabrics are wrinkled, smocked, embossed, embroidered, cut out, etc.). But she dares to move away from cuteness, adding experimental, sporty or more masculine elements: an unexpected color combination (red and pink), a pair of trainers or a denim shirt lighten the atmosphere.

Cecilie Bahnsen.

At the Dôme de Paris, a vast hall with 4,600 seats, Dries Van Noten left the jazz percussionist Lander Gyselinck alone on stage, in front of a huge mirror. The public, in the bleachers opposite, first sees his reflection, which is a little disconcerting. Then begins the slow and ceremonial zigzag of the mannequins circulating between the bays, multiplied by the ice. Seen up close, this collection reveals delicate details: golden topstitching on the shoulders of a midnight blue jacket, lace concealed under a coat covered in aged-effect flowers… “Little things you want to keep to yourself. In short, the complete opposite of the desire to show off”summarizes Dries Van Noten. “The essence of the collection is based on clothes that may seem degraded or worn but that we want to protect, restore, so that we can never stop wearing them”, continues the Flemish. From there, the shiny, fragile or undone jacquards, the buttons as if re-embroidered, the patchworks left imperfect or the effects of gold paint applied by hand on belted coats, like that which would be used by restorers of antique sculptures or dated moldings. A precious refinement without false note.

Dries Van Noten.

Built in the XVIIIe century, since 1854 the Castanier hotel has housed the head office of Crédit Foncier de France, even though it became the property of the Emir of Qatar in 2009, who carefully renovated it. This is where the Olsen sisters set up shop to unveil a new collection from their brand The Row. A classic setting all in moldings and paneling, with a vertiginous ceiling height that perfectly corresponds to their status as paragons of good taste. The New York duo may have starred in mainstream American sitcoms in the 1990s, but today they make the most minimalist, bourgeois and exclusive sartorial proposition of fashion week. Sumptuous materials, ample volumes, monochrome silhouettes, no prints, few details; everything is played in the volumes (a scarf sculpted around the body, a bustier dress tied in a suit jacket) and in the movements (a jacket slit in the back which sways to the rhythm of the steps). At The Row, everything is order and beauty, luxury, calm and austerity.

The Row.
Read also: At Paris Fashion Week, three designers go back to the origins


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