Paris Fashion Week blurs the line between runway and performance

Blurring the line between fashion and performance, Japanese house Issey Miyake for Homme Plisse used a group of acrobats writhing, dancing and seemingly courting death for a spectacular men’s show at Paris Fashion Week.

Here are some of the most interesting events from the spring-summer 2023 fashion show on Thursday in Paris.

FASHION THAT DEFEATS DEATH

In eye-catching shades inspired by flowers and vases, the models mingled with the performers at the newly renovated La Poste du Louvre for this unusual and delicate exhibition of fashion design through dance.

From a hidden platform high above the courtyard runway, the dance troupe suddenly stood up in the middle of the show and gasped from the audience. In pastel colors, loose-fitting pleated garments, the performers then descended a ladder, before performing jumps, falls, and overturns that defied death. The performers were thrown into the air like projectiles, to be caught by dancers across the yard. There was no safety net above the hard stone floor.

The show was directed by Rachid Ouramdane of the Théâtre National de Chaillot, with a team of acrobats, Compagnie XY.

Fashion itself was soft in comparison. Gradual curves on the neck and midrile mimicked the shapes of vases with a beautiful weight that created a dynamic silhouette. The pleated pastel red tunic was paired with a short jacket, with panels on the chest reminiscent of an Asian warrior. Elsewhere, a colorful dandelion vest carried pockets with nails that unfolded like a flower opening.

Color blocking was also a strong theme – with pastel purple in contrast to blush and black on one look, and pastel yellow and midnight blue on the other. It was a strong return to the runway for Homme Plisse in Issey Miyake.

OLD EGYPT RICK OWENS

American designer Rick Owens dived into the ancient world for inspiration, returning after a stay in Egypt and a visit to the Temple of Edfu on the Nile.

Often a philosopher, Owens said that his “personal worries … were petty confronted with this kind of timelessness.” In recent seasons, he has commented on the impact of the pandemic on fashion and beyond – and has accepted closure as a time for introspection.

Owens has always had an aesthetic riffing on the clothes of ancient Egypt, with togas, curtains and high priestess styles adorning his runways. But on Thursday’s show, he picked up a dial for a very personal look at such silhouettes.

“Lying in the dust with the Valley of the Kings in sight was a perspective I liked,” he said.

Like the long stone carvings on the ancient temple, the silhouettes were elongated with layered garments to lower the lower body. The dark fluttering pants were so long that the fabric ran along the stone steps as the models walked through the Palais de Tokyo. This created a funky surreal effect.

“Extreme shoulders” – huge and rounded – created this atmosphere of an Egyptian priest, tailored by an American fashion master from silk chiffon, sharp cotton and glittering plaid.

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