Wrinkles, Wrinkles are everywhere, but they look so pretty

PARIS – Stade Jean-Bouin, the rugby arena in the 16th District, was heaving late Wednesday night. About 7,000 people were sipping French fries, drinks in hand, waving phones in the air and waiting for the third Balmain Festival to begin. Backstage, through a maze of corridors, designer Olivier Rousteing is on trial, talking about inclusion and how, for him, that means opening the doors of fashion for people to walk in. .

It’s becoming a trend this season, along with oversize pants, lingerie, and a bunch of tassels.

In New York earlier this month, Marni held an outdoor show underneath the Manhattan Bridge to allow outsiders to see the decorations going on. In Milan, Moncler organized a great experience in Piazza del Duomo. And now Balmain: with a seemingly endless runway, the even endless wait for the show to begin (welcome to fashion), and then the parade of over 100 looks (women, men and couture) – and Cher.

Cher? YES. She appears at the end, in a catsuit. Surprise!

It’s the right impulse, but the wrong perception. Because what gets lost in the mayhem of these stadium shows is what attracts people in the first place: the clothes. How, through detail, line and texture, great design can capture the character of the moment and how it shapes identity. Implies a closeness – to the physical and emotional – that cannot be achieved in a large garbage pit. But it is becoming a hallmark of the finest collections.

It is reflected in the element of wabi-sabi, of the brokenness that persists and becoming beautiful, which is beginning to emerge. After the explosion of comfort clothes caused by COVID-19 lockdowns and the skirt-to-table reaction, this may indeed be the most powerful fashion expression of what people have been going through. via.

It was captured almost perfectly by Undercover’s Jun Takahashi, when he returned to Paris after two and a half years with a show at the American Church in Paris, and a bunch of shorts slashed here and there – at a calves, thighs , arms – as if from a knife fight.

Except for the exact remaining gingival wounds, which are lined up in tiny frills, and sometimes adorned with a rose, which are inserted very gently into the hole. The result seems to be not only a nod to what happened to the work uniform (or the idea of ​​the work itself, for that matter) but also the ongoing healing effort.

So it went: with message tees and sweatshirts featuring words like “Love,” “Dream,” “Angel,” and “Sweet,” cut across the center and paired with jeans and pants. thin chinos. With ripped trenches at the shoulders, and shredded asymmetrical knits making it look as if they were just old cobwebs trapped in some abandoned house. Finally, a quartet of strapless, circular skirts appeared, like giant balls of tin foil or leftover rope.

In their souls they are not perfect. Likewise, at The Row, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen opened up austere black coats along the spine and joined the sleeves along the seams so they could be tied up, like a hug. , around the body.

How designers trap a plain white shirt dress under a mesh tank, let it crush into unplanned folds, or line a ruched silk quilt dress over a button-down shirt and wrapped it at the bust, almost as if the woman was wearing it. was hibernating in bed and the doorbell rang, she had to hastily pull the blankets out to see if anyone was there.

And in the way that Dries Van Noten, also holding his first show since February 2020, told the story of the past two and a half years.

He started in the dark, all in black – like Kazimir Malevich and his 1915 painting “Black Square”, says the designer behind the scenes, he started from zero – in a series of simple suits and skirts, wonderfully protected here and there, splendidly bound by glass adhesive pins. Gradually the surface treatments became more complex, the frills extended down to the floor, rolled into hard, cascading silk frills.

Then came a boot jacket encrusted in small cobalt blue pockets, which in turn gave way to pale pink, and then wrapped the dividers in oversize cotton fabric – jacket, shirt and pants – in mint green and buttery yellow, caramel and dove gray, as if the clothes had come to life. Until they finally did, in an explosion of wildflower prints in shaggy, shaggy silks of various colors, organically stitched together and climbing the trunk like trees. vines.

The flowers may look like cover up and sweet (and cliché, especially when you’re talking about spring), but they’re like a glorious declaration of faith and a messy promise of renewal. of nature. Cons, wrinkles and all.

Turns out, that’s also the subject of Mr. Rousteing. If the venue of the Balmain performance is for everyone to participate (or all who can get tickets, through donations to (RED) and the global fund to fight the pandemic), then the performance itself The performance, he said backstage, is a reflection of his anxiety about the future and the climate crisis and “a love letter to my planet, to the world.”

“I think it’s really interesting to see everyone being so obsessed with the 90s and 2000s right now and looking back at the past,” he continued, when they should have asked “if we were in a there tomorrow and what are we going to do for the next generation?” That’s a good question.

He then turned it into a series of elaborate pieces, suggesting that the flair was not that of an army, as he liked to call his fandom, but of a nomadic tribe. from the desert planet. In leather and raffia, dusty eco-linen and a faded patchwork of both Renaissance prints (da Vinci, Michelangelo) and African craftsmanship: heritage carried on the body.

The flame flickered on the silk, symbolizing the whole trial of Mr. Rousteing by fire – a explosion in his apartment at the end of 2020 caused him burns – and last summer’s forest fire. In the haute couture section, a mini skirt with a bust is sculpted from tree bark; a ballerina from straw; a long robe, corrugated from coarse cloth, jute cord and twigs.

It (happily) left his own late ’80s haunting, and represents a real step forward. Or it will have, if possible, on that ostentatious runway to actually see the resonant structure of the clothing.

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