Paris Fashion Week blurs the line between runway and performance

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A model wears a creation as part of Rick Owens’ Spring Summer 2023 menswear collection presented in Paris, France, Thursday, June 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

SHOVEL

Blurring the line between fashion and performance, Japanese house from Issey Miyake to Homme Plisse used a troupe of acrobats who writhed, danced and seemingly courted death for a spectacular men’s show at Paris Fashion Week.

Here are some highlights from Thursday’s spring-summer 2023 shows in Paris.

DEATH DEfyING FASHION

In eye-popping hues inspired by flowers and vases, models mingled with artists inside the newly renovated La Poste du Louvre for this unusual and sensitive showcase of fashion designs through dance.

From a hidden ledge high on the patio floor, a dance troupe suddenly stood up in the middle of the show to gasp from the audience. In pastel colors, pleated and baggy clothes, the artists would then descend stairs, before performing death-defying jumps, falls and tumbles. Performers were launched into the air like missiles, to be captured by dancers across the courtyard. There was no safety net above the hard stone floor.

The show was directed by Rachid Ouramdane of the Théâtre National de Chaillot, featuring an acrobat collective, Compagnie XY.

The fashion itself was bland by comparison. Gradual curves at the neck and belly mimicked the shapes of the vases with a pleasant weight that produced a dynamic silhouette. A pleated tunic in pastel red was paired with a short jacket, with chest panels that resembled an Asian warrior. Elsewhere, a vivid dandelion vest sported studded pockets that unfolded like a blooming flower.

Color blocking was also a strong theme – with pastel purple contrasting with blush and raisin black in one look, and in another pastel yellow and midnight blue. It was a strong return to the track for Homme Plisse in Issey Miyake.

ANCIENT EGYPT BY RICK OWENS

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

Philosopher Owens often said that his “personal concerns . . . seemed petty in the face of this kind of timelessness.” In recent seasons, he has commented on the impact the pandemic has had on fashion and beyond — and has embraced lockdown as a moment of introspection.

Owens has always had an aesthetic riff on Ancient Egyptian attire, with togas, drapes and high priestess styles gracing his catwalks. But at Thursday’s show he turned up the dial for a very personal look at these silhouettes.

“Lying on land with the Valley of the Kings in sight was a prospect I enjoyed,” he said.

Like the long stone carvings in the ancient temple, the silhouettes were elongated by layers of clothing to keep the belly down. Dark baggy pants were so long the fabric brushed the stone steps as the models walked down the Palais de Tokyo. It created a funky surreal effect.

“Extreme shoulders” – giant and rounded – created this Egyptian priest vibe, stitched by the master of American fashion in silk chiffon, crisp cotton and gaudy plaid.

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