Maxime Simoëns is bullish on color for Spring, so much so that he opened his show with a hashtagged crop top that read, “Colorful is the new black.” Whether he expected people to spread the news this way (singer Keren Ann, seated beside actresses Suzanne Clément and Juliette Binoche, was among those who did), Simoëns was eager to share how integrating color has affected his outlook and how he hoped this transferred to the clothes. Enthusiasm, of course, is a double-edged sword. With three leather openwork looks early in the show, Simoëns gave savoir faire a vibrant boost; midway through there was another solid grouping, this time lantern-pleated and breezy around the body. Influences from the 1960s and ’80s could be detected in silhouette and surface detail alike, and that’s where Simoëns seemed to struggle between remaining referential and proposing a unique proportional point of view.
The upside to a collection in such saturated shades—from Rothko-esque abstracted prints to pixelated patterns of matte paillettes—was its telegenic possibility. Despite insisting that he doesn’t design for the red carpet, Simoëns has had a very good year if measured by star support. Black may be the safer retail route, but Simoëns doesn’t see it as the only option. His Instagram feed features a few images of artist Daniel Buren’s work, which inspired the rainbow-paned back wall for the show venue, a soaring greenhouse within the Parc André Citroën. Buren is a good role model; he understands that colors can be aggressive, and knows how to control them with black and white. An all-white pleated trench with lacquered leather flaps might have been among the top looks from Simoëns today, but his color period is worth pursuing, with or without a hashtag.