THE THEME Rabanne’s first show since the house dropped the Paco from its name, Spring 2024 saw creative director Julien Dossena push the eponymous founder’s ability to draw expressive and fluid characteristics out of unexpected materials, in particular metal, and to synthesis historically minded constructions with a futuristic sensibilty. Largely sidestepping the current fashion moment’s reliance on tailoring and “quiet luxury,” Dossena instead reimagined more ancient garment constructions likes wraps, tunics, and robe-like dresses while alchemically drawing out a sinuous fluidity from precious metals.
Embellishing these sweeping forms, raw and rustic materials intersect with intricate beading, adorning the body while provocatively revealing its form and power. The wearers of these oracular garments are thus cast as prophetesses and warrior queens from the distant past – or the distant future.
Dossena also revisits Nues, the series of images created in collaboration between Paco Rabanne and photographer Jean Clemmer that featured subjects who were nearly nude apart from the designer’s chain assemblages that encircled, draped, and cascaded from their bodies. Adding another layer to the dialogue of body, clothing, wearer, and creator, these photographs are printed on tank tops, which provide a bit of merch appeal but are elevated by being styled with crystal and metallic dresses.
THE BUZZWORDS Adornment. Strength. Fluidity. Preciousness. Retro-futurist.
Look #21 Though astounding, many of the looks on display here are quite difficult to imagine a real person wearing today. This dress synthesizes the collection’s oracular aspirations and intricate craft with a form that is certainly statement making, but much more wearable in our contemporary reality.
THE ON-BRAND FACTOR
THE BRAND EVOLUTION
Faithful extension of the brand’s legacy.
Stunning use of craft and material.
A distinct and fully fleshed-out vision of an alternate-dimension intersection of past and future luxury.
In being so fantastical, the collection is divorced from reality; it’s hard to imagine many women wanting to really wear most of these looks.
How is it that the deep past also conjures up the far-off future? From one extreme, the tangible relics of distant civilizations; from the other, the unimaginable state of the world centuries from now. The latest collection emerges in the realm of a mirage, where the myths and artifacts that endure collide with the stories dreamt up, where reality blurs with the illusory.”
– Julien Dossena, Rabanne Creative Director
THE WRAP UP
Deploying a couture-level of craft, Julien Dossena and Rabanne deliver a vivid – albeit farfetched – vision of feminine power and sensuality that radiates outward through time in both directions.