Paris Fashion Week blurs the line between catwalk and performance

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PARIS — Blurring the line between fashion and performance, the Japanese house of Issey Miyake for Homme Plisse used a troupe of acrobats who contorted, 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.

In striking hues inspired by flowers and vases, the models mingled with the artists inside the newly renovated La Poste du Louvre for this unusual and sensitive display of fashion design through dance.

From a hidden ledge high above the patio floor, a dance troupe suddenly rose to their feet in the middle of the show to gasps from the audience. Wearing loose-fitting, pastel-colored pleats, the performers descended stairs before performing death-defying jumps, drops and somersaults. The performers were launched through the air like missiles, only to be caught by the dancers on the other side of the courtyard. There was no safety net on the hard stone floor.

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

The fashion itself was bland in comparison. Gradual curves in the neck and stomach emulated vase shapes with a pleasing weight that produced a dynamic silhouette. A pastel red pleated tunic was paired with a short jacket, with chest panels resembling an Asian warrior. Elsewhere, a vivid dandelion vest sported studded pockets that fanned out like a blooming flower.

The color scheme was also a big theme: pastel purple was contrasted with blush and black in one look, and pastel yellow and midnight blue in another. It was a strong return to the catwalk for Homme Plisse at Issey Miyake.

THE ANCIENT EGYPT OF RICK OWENS

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

The philosopher Owens often said that his “personal concerns…feel petty in the face of that kind of timelessness.” In recent seasons, he has commented on the impact the pandemic has had on fashion and beyond, embracing lockdown as a moment of introspection.

Owens has always had an aesthetic inspired by Ancient Egyptian attire, with togas, drapes, and priestess styles gracing her runways. But on Thursday’s show he turned up the dial for a very personal take on those silhouettes.

“Laying down on the ground with the Valley of the Kings in view was a perspective I liked,” he said.

Like the long stone carvings in the ancient temple, the silhouettes were lengthened by layering garments to drop the midriff. The dark flared pants were so long that the fabric brushed against the stone steps as the models walked through the Palais de Tokyo. It created a funky surreal effect.

Giant, rounded “extreme shoulders” created this Egyptian priest vibe, crafted by the master of American fashion in silk chiffon, crisp cotton, and garish plaid.

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