Julien Dossena is really hitting his stride. In so many ways, to many designers, confidence currently seems to mean sexy, slogan-tastic or a nonchalant rejection of intellect. Dossena is tasked with being Creative Director of arguably the most utopian fashion label within fashion history. That's not to say that Rabanne wasn't keenly aware of the world we lived in. Far from it, he was a deeply complex, deeply spiritual, deeply beguiling designer. He questioned the system, the world – and the reasons behind it all.
Hellbent on re-configuring what fashion could be, rather than needle and thread, Paco Rabanne was famous for using a pair of pliers. This season metalwork was re-imagined in the shape of slouchy chainmail dresses, midi skirts and draped tees. Seventies/thirties vibes felt irreverent for this 1960s house – and saw the label stay away from the cookie-cutter modernist shapes that are deemed too costume-cartoonish for some. Both athletic yet easy - even casual - this collection proved that high glamour can become modern if put in the right pair of hands. Coupled with probably the brightest show lighting of any show this season, the garments were almost hyper-real. Silver and gold dresses appeared alongside dresses and separates in liquid shine. Oversized loafers in metallic silver, glossy green, or high shine black added a mannish note to the near Grecian sparkle 'n' shine of it all.
Continuing Dossena’s new-found ode to the trouser, low slung volumes with wide bandeau style waistbands had an Obi-esque Japanese feel. Side openings and thick ribbon strappings softly bound tunic shapes, whilst papery white shirts peeped out from oversized, waisted knits. An entire knitwear section of tops, skirts and dresses subsequently saw the designer ground the connection in an anonymous grace. It helped the collection achieve a kind of neutral modernity not bound up in an historic identity of such an idiosyncratic house - yet it also spoke subtly of the new vision overall. ?
Sky blue was the colour that was chosen as the collection’s mean 'pop'. Ahead of the Loewe collection this week, and the campaign preview imagery of Anderson's René Magritte-esque puzzle bag - that has already broken - Paco Rabanne's pixilated blue and white printed dresses and sweaters here had one daydreaming furthermore of surrealist cloudscapes. Talking of bags, the ones offered here - like the Puzzle – were awkwardly squishy and jaunty. The letter 'R' was spelled out at each end, and was very much front-of-centre when held under the arm. It was kind of trashy - but kind of great. The girls walked down the runway holding onto their logos, and we - no question - held onto the belief that Dossena is exactly where he should be.