Although Paco Rabanne‘s autumn-winter 2022 isn’t officially couture, it was a suitable start of the Parisian week of haute fashion. Julien Dossena continues to expand his vocabulary for the brand, temporarily leaving behind Rabanne’s heritage chain-mail and digging into personal obsessions. Designers have been doing collections about our hankering for the human touch since Covid set in, but this collection went beyond that. “I wanted it to be conceptual in a sensorial way and not in an intellectual way,” the designer said, stripping his proverbial mood board of any reference that wasn’t about texture or volume. In a (sort of) post-pandemic world where escapism is at an all-time high, focusing so exclusively on here-and-now things like design and fabrication was practically confrontational to the human mind. “The abstract volumes came from the couture register,” Dossena said, referring to the sculptural form language associated with classic haute couture. “But super short, a bit extreme, with really cinched waists, and mixing it with knitwear to make it more, let’s say, contemporary.” On paper, that procedure sounded pretty 1980s, and many of the looks could have been hyper-takes on the decade’s vivacious silhouette. Think Nan Kempner’s style whenever she arrived to Paris. This collection also felt very Balenciaga-by-Nicolas-Ghesquiere, especially autumn-winter 2012 – Dossena was working as the in-house designer back then. The vibrant Paco Rabanne collection is an astute reminder of what we can do with the makings of the material world in a time when the human mind seems hellbent on escaping into immaterial ones.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.