Paco Rabanne's voyages in the mind

They love a French fashion champion in Paris, and this season they certainly have one with Julien Dossena, who staged a vibrant voyager collection for the house of Paco Rabanne on a sunny Thursday afternoon.



The entire French section of the audience screamed like teeny boppers at the finale, after this high-tempo display, which wrenched this storied marque into the present.

Far too often in the past, Paco Rabanne has remained stuck in its metal-mesh-and-chain-mail time warp. Dossena himself was beginning to fall back into it last season. But this show broke new ground, while still maintaining just enough metal references to respect the Rabanne DNA.
 
His starting points were Seventies hippie styles, when a new generation became global nomads, mingling the clothes of foreign cultures into their wardrobes. Rajasthan prints; Moorish patterns; Gothic paisleys often trimmed, piped and held together with metal chains, shackles and strings. Or decorating many tops and sarongs with golden coins.
 
Adding in a reality check, as the designer covered up many looks with windowpane check redingotes and trench-coats; biker jackets and mesh tanks. This Rabanne girl will walk through world on wooden geta sandals, again finished with exotic print straps; or patent leather heeled moccasins.




The sensibility was rather revealing and sexy but never cheap. Dossena installed a huge lighting gantry just above the audience, packed into the Galerie Sud-Est of the Grand Palais, to suggest an Asian street market at night.
 
“I wanted that feeling of searching for yourself abroad. I liked this period in the '70s, when people felt they needed more depth. A search for more mysticism, with Americans going to India. So, that’s what I wanted to explore, that you also travel in the mind, not always literally to these places,” explained Dossena backstage.
 
Driven on by a great soundtrack – notably a driving funk cut called 'So Good' by Cricco Castelli – and worn by a cast finished with beautiful Ghirlandaio-worthy prim hairstyles, this was a hit show.
 
Adding to the heat, pre-show the brand’s new fragrance ambassador, Emily Ratajkowski greeted hipsters on the runway as they took their seats.
 
“He´s shaken a lot of the baggage, and in this house,  there was an awful lot of that,” said CEO Marc Puig,  the clan leader of the Puig family, which owns Paco Rabanne, as he gestured throwing an enormous sack off his shoulder onto the floor of the backstage.
 
 
 

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