Presenting off the official Paris show calendar didn’t stop almost all of the top names in fashion from making it to the Paco Rabanne show on Thursday. In just over a year designer Julien Dossena has reenergized this once leading French fashion house. Making it cool again with his strong sporty approach to fashion.
What makes Dossena’s designs stand out is that instead of completely ignoring the iconic sartorial past of the house, he has found a way to integrate its essence into his work. But -- and this is key -- never to the detriment of his own vision. It is much harder than it sounds. For proof look no further then at the long list of designers who have fallen by the wayside at Rabanne since the founder retired.
So how has Dossena done it?
For one thing, he transformed the metal mesh that Mr. Rabanne loved so much. Cutting it to look and move like fabric. By crafting it into easy slip dresses, or ruffled skirt, Dossena made the material feel less like “event only” options and arguably appropriate for rotation into everyday attire. Also, the whip smart idea of updating the brand’s graphic heritage of linking plastic discs or fabric via metal fastenings and turning it into hole punched color lined knitwear or flirty fringe skirts crafted from circular cut outs made the concept fresh again.
When Dossena wasn’t lightly tipping his hat at the house’s past, he was deftly pointing the way forward for the brand. Sporty, bodycon, youthful and energetic were the sentiments that vibrated off of his carved out swimsuit-inspired ensembles, stripy stirrup pants and cool grey hoodies ablaze with a band of red, black or white fabric across the chest.
“I really wanted to focus on the body and its curves,” explained the designer about his intention for the house. “This collection was about exploring super positioning of fabrics and giving it an almost prehistoric ‘Do It Yourself’ style,” he added.
That may be, but Dossena is clearly not a Neanderthal when it comes to making modern clothing.