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Whether in the galleries or on the runways, as music or as theatre, avant-garde has always signaled a certain radicality, an impulse for experimentation. This concept is innate to Paco Rabanne, dating back to the designer’s first collection in 1966, Twelve Dresses in Unwearable Materials.
But does avant-garde expression serve a purpose when life itself feels so radically different? What if an everyday wardrobe could be reimagined with an avant-garde attitude? Conceived by Julien Dossena, this Paco Rabanne collection is a garde-robe of looks that are instinctive rather than declarative. Individuality surfaces as an extreme remix of wearable pieces. The statement is visibly less formal but technically precise – an undoing of stylistic archetypes to arrive at a deliberately destabilized allure.
Each look suggests an association of ideas that are as likely to be counterintuitive as complementary. Amidst the season’s sparkling head-to-toe geometric and flowery assemblages, leopard motifs and lingerie or baby-doll dresses with lace incrustations tempt a more louche, beguiling vision. Bustiers and washed denim recur as wardrobe foundation pieces, often layered with elongated tailored jackets or a relaxed, metal mesh robe. Striped ribbed knits stamped with silver create kinetic curves while metal mesh dresses in gold and silver are newly knotted at the bustline, suggesting a gesture of insouciance. Where moulded tops and jewellery plates around the clavicle and navel accentuate the figure outward, exaggerated jewel prints drape and contour the body with trompe l’oeil glitz. Updated for the times, a classic trench is sheathed in clear plastic as a partial barrier.
On foot, boots set within tubular steel frames have been re-edited from the archive. They showcase the artistic side of Paco Rabanne’s avant-garde spirit – a conceptual, sculptural base for silhouettes drawn from real life.
Paco Rabanne Womenswear Spring/Summer 2021