Paco Rabanne – Pre Spring/Summer 2016 Ready-To-Wear

Paco Rabanne – Pre Spring/Summer 2016 Ready-To-Wear

As Paco Rabanne plans to open its first stand-alone store in early 2016—”somewhere in Paris” was the only volunteered detail—Julien Dossena is thinking ahead to how his designs will register in their own retail space. Delays notwithstanding, Resort will be first on the racks, making this offering potentially more significant than his previous pre-collections for the brand.

Notably, the creative director shifted his register, moving away from such an overt emphasis on athleticism to an oblique take on sportswear. After finding evidence in the archive of crochet mixed with metal, Dossena opted to integrate a “folkloric” influence with urban elements. The result: a trapeze tunic in technical and piqué cotton that evolved from a peasant blouse, its ring of openwork just barely revealing a pair of short shorts. Although Dossena applies his precise sense for construction to minimalist pieces (see also the classic tank updated with an asymmetric drawstring at its base), he can also be an unintentional maximalist, overworking slashes, leather paneling, or smocked details into skirts. Still, he manages to find a striking sweet spot, never straying far from Paco Rabanne codes; for nearly every piece featuring new thermal printed chain mail—its vintage botanical baroque equal parts glam and grunge—there’s a complementary hit of cool gray knit. When the same print appears as a crepe de chine tank lined in the original metal mesh and paired with a summer-weight stretch leather pant with finned hems, the look becomes, as he describes it, a bit “student groupie.”

But Dossena is smartly sensitive to those long since graduated; they’ll gravitate toward his plaster-hued trench and knit dresses that offer more coverage than the edgy bandeaux. While supple chain mail earrings and raffia-fringed bags ensure accessibility, the footwear gets increasingly kooky: think neoprene sneaker sock boots, double-belted mules, and more of Fall’s Lucite insert wedges. Like the rest of the collection, they’re not instinctive, but they have instant appeal.

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