Paco Rabanne, who passed away last month aged 88, may have left the industry in mourning, but his spirit is still very much alive at his namesake label. Helmed by designer Julien Dossena since 2013, the Spanish label presented its Fall 2023 ready-to-wear show during Paris Fashion Week yesterday— almost exactly one-month to the day after Rabanne died on Feb. 3 — and it was a fitting tribute to the iconic designer.
Upon arriving to the show on Wednesday, attendees — including Nicolas Ghesquiere, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Pierre Hardy — found that a note thanking “Monsieur Rabanne” for “this unique stylistic manifesto,” “radical engagement,” and “personal expression” had been placed upon their seats, signed by Dossena, who wrote that Rabanne was among “those who changed our view of the world.”
Alongside Pierre Cardin and André Courrèges, Rabanne is often credited for encapsulating space age and futuristic fashion in the 1960s. His iconic chainmail dresses and innovative use of non-traditional materials like plastic, metal, and tinsel redefined industry standards and continue to shape and inspire the next generation of designers.
The Fall 2023 showcase was a sparkling homage to the late designer, featuring a lineup of light-catching pieces that prove that Paco Rabanne’s spirit lives on. From silver chainmail hoods and perspex dresses to glittering sequin gold turtleneck croptops, there was no shortage of incredible and over-the-top pieces that are sure to cater to the tastes of the Middle Eastern client. To quote our editor-in-chief Sofia Guellaty: “It was very refreshing in an otherwise very muted and boring Fashion Week.” We have no doubt that the sequin feather dresses, metallic tinsel skirts, and sculpted metal bras will be like cat-nip to the celebrities once red carpet season rolls around.
In addition to the usual maximalism, there was a group of gowns made in collaboration with the Salvador Dali Foundation, honoring the late founder’s friendship with the Surrealist artist, who once famously proclaimed that Rabanne was the “second greatest Spanish genius.” Dossena printed floor-length cut-out gowns with surrealist artworks by Dali, referencing Shades of Night Descending (1931), Giant Flying Mocca Cup (1946), Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee (1944), Meditative Rose (1958), and Sun Table (1936).
He also reinterpreted pieces from the Paco Rabanne Spring 1966 Haute Couture collection that appear in an old black-and-white photograph of the surrealist painter surrounded by three models wearing the designs.
Indeed, it seemed like this collection was looking towards the past and focusing a bit less on futurism. This was most evident in the retrospective capsule of five of Rabanne’s original dresses that closed the show. A solid tribute to the iconic designer, Dossena’s latest collection is a breath of fresh air for the extravagant, for the exuberant, and for the women who likes to dress up.