Rokh, Abra, Mossi and Situationist: four different interpretations of avant-garde in Paris
Faced with the difficult challenge of reinventing fashion through innovative and relevant designs, the South Korean firm Rokh bet on its expertise in tailoring and layering; while the Spanish firm Abra dug into the archives of Custo Barcelona; the Georgian firm Situationist opted to collaborate with the Ukrainian brand Yaspis;defand the French firm Mossi went a step forward in manufacturing environmentally friendly garments.
Rokh's white-collar women
South Korean design was represented in Paris by the 2018 LVMH Prize special prize winner Rokh. Founded in 2017 by Rok Hwang, the London-based brand chose the Garage Amelot industrial space to present its 'Office Essentials' collection in a clear nod to the working and ambitious woman in the city that never sleeps. As if at an 'open space', the center of the room resembled a work area where the models progressively positioned themselves, ready to get to work. Performance was an essential part of the show, with models playing the role of busy office workers, making calls, typing on their computers, organising papers or holding meetings.
The collection was mainly characterised by masterful layering that sought contrasting structures and textures, with piles of layers around one part of the body balanced by contrasting bare shoulders or arms as well as waist-cinching corsets paired with wide trousers.
With tailoring as the common thread, the strict office wardrobe with its long and vertical silhouettes also featured touches of modernity, such as tight pencil skirts paired with structured and elevated jeans or lingerie dresses worn together with geometric suit jackets. Contrasts were mastered in just the right way, achieving interesting proportions and adaptable looks that can be worn from day to night, with suggestive elements in the form of plunging necklines or revealing cut-outs.
Among the most eye-catching pieces were the accessories, which were also inspired by the office aesthetic and the 90s. Spacious bags resembled pouches or folders in which to carry documents. Likewise, the collection featuring a neutral colour palette of grey and beige tones with orange details also included a collaboration with the Canadian luxury brand Canada Goose and the multimedia artist Matt McCormick. The exclusive 8-piece capsule collection comprised Rokh's signature oversized trench coat, a down coat, a quilted jacket and a hoodie featuring McCormick's contemporary artwork. Manolo Blahnik, on the other hand, provided the finishing touches to the brand's looks with its iconic, elegant footwear.
Custo's resurrection, as seen by Abra
A former electric power station located on Avenue Parmentier in the 11th arrondissement of Paris was the venue chosen by the Spanish designer Abraham Ortuño to host the show for his latest collection -- the first that his brand has held in the French capital. Better known as Abra, the name of his brand founded in 2019, the designer is one of the most talked about creatives among industry insiders interested in avant-garde designs.
Throughout his career as an accessories designer, the creative has worked with luxury brands such as Loewe, J.W. Anderson and Jacquemus. In addition, the brand showed for the first time in Madrid in 2021 and its particular aesthetic has already seduced rising Spanish singers such as Bad Gyal and Rosalía herself.
The show, held late in the evening on Tuesday March 7, took place outside the official fashion week calendar and brought 10 days of fashion shows and presentations in Paris to a close. The show featured electronic music and medieval references to The Lord of the Rings via velvet, leather and cotton garments that looked worn and frayed.
The evening looks included hooded sweatshirts or jackets paired with long satin or draped dresses in red vinyl, paired with brightly coloured handbags decorated with spikes, as well as high-heeled shoes. However, the standout pieces of the collection were a series of tight-fitting "dosmilero" looks inspired by illustrations from Custo Barcelona's archives, an emblematic Spanish brand that has been around for over four decades.
"This experience has been really great. I went back to Alicante during Christmas and I started looking through my childhood wardrobe with my sister and one of the brands I saw the most was Custo. I have always been a fan. As a teenager, it was one of my favourite brands because it offered T-shirts for boys with flared sleeves and glitter. It's part of my identity. It seemed obvious to me that we had to create something together and it all happened very naturally. I wanted to show what Custo would be like today through my eyes. Today, it's a cult brand among young people and the brand is experiencing a revival," the designer, who has lived in Paris for over a decade, explained to FashionNetwork.com about their collaboration.
The collection, with its Y2K aesthetic and nostalgic tone, was a tribute to the 2000s and the unique creative universe of designer Custo Dalmau, who marked a "before-and-after in Abrahan Otruño's understanding of fashion".
"The fact that Abra has decided to work with us on a capsule collection is an honour," said Dalmau, a regular at New York Fashion Week, MBFW Madrid and 080 Barcelona Fashion. "Their creativity is equal or greater than ours. I think this alliance could bring a lot to the fashion scene," he added regarding the exclusive collaboration to be launched this coming winter, which will be available in several concept stores carefully selected by Abra.
"Going forward, I hope I can continue to keep my underground and special spirit. It's the way I feel most comfortable working," said Abra backstage at his show, which was attended by celebrities such as Spanish actress Jedet and Rick Owens' assistant designer Tyrone Dylan.
Mossi's dance battle
Entitled 'Aller danser sur la Lune' ('Go Dancing on the Moon'), the latest collection by French designer Mossi Traoré was a continuation of his ongoing relationship with the performing arts, paying homage to one of his favourite forms of dance: hip-hop. This is not the first time that the brand, founded in 2011, has teamed up with the world of dance. For its 'Étoiles de Lune' ('Moon Stars') campaign in 2018, the brand called on Marie-Agnès Gillot, choreographer and "étoile" dancer at the Opéra de Paris.
On this occasion, Mossi opted for a casual and laid-back approach, taking his streetwear cosmonaut-like uniforms to the Place de la Pyramide Inversééé at the Carrousel du Louvre. The venue was transformed into an urban space, decked out with a concrete floor and walls full of Yellow Boombap graffiti, and hosted a short runway show featuring 14 looks characterised by quilted asymmetrical skirts as well as stiff foulards wrapped around the shoulders, with denim reinvented in purple or orange versions dominating the collection.
In keeping with its environmentally responsible approach, Mossi also presented patchwork looks that combined a variety of deadstock fabrics to create tunics or asymmetrical tops, while handmade cotton from India was used to create a black strapless dress and reinterpretations of the classic sweatshirt. Tailoring, meanwhile, made its first appearance at the French brand, with a pleated skirt and a purple triple-breasted suit.
Unlike the co-ed runway show, which was short and flowed to the rhythm of Jamie XX, Mossi's show was followed by an energetic urban dance battle. The brand entrusted the performance to the Yudat [Y'a un Début à Tout] dance collective, which has played an active role in the hip-hop scene since 2003. The competition, hosted by journalists Nidhya Paliakara and Vanessa Le Moigne as well as singer Mai Lan, encouraged both the guests and the models dressed by Mossi to take part.
Situationist x Yaspis: An alliance between Ukraine and Georgia
A regular at MBFW Tbilisi, promoted by the entrepreneur Sofia Tchkonia and which will be held again at the beginning of May, Georgian designer Irakli Rusadze arrived at Paris Fashion Week with an unexpected fashion show organised in collaboration with the fashion brand Yaspis, founded in 2021 by the Ukrainian designer, Nina Kolomytseva, who specialises in creating daring printed fabrics.
Stemming from a friendship that began five years ago, as well as their mutual "shared values and visions", the two creative minds created a striking mix of tailored and wardrobe basics revisited in materials such as leather, knitwear and bamboo mesh.
Around thirty looks were presented during the morning show at the Palais de Tokyo, which included strapless jumpsuits and structured fur coats featuring pops of red, tight-fitting dresses, contemporary tailored blazers, mini foulard dresses, mini-skirts and oversized fur coats.
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