At Paris Fashion Week, fashion is passionate about sculpture (of clothes)

What is a garment? A three-dimensional element intended to protect from the cold and cover nudity, say anthropologists; a commercial product whose margins can be comfortable, retort the CEOs. But at Paris fashion week, running until October 4, some designers are broadening the spectrum, propelling fashion into an almost sculptural approach.

Dressing the body: the creators of Coperni have taken this injunction literally, by summoning a little magic to their podium. It must be said that Arnaud Vaillant and Sébastien Meyer, who relaunched their label in 2019 after their time at Courrèges, have no equal in putting technological advances at the service of their desires. We already owe them heated coats or 3D prints. This season, they have teamed up with Fabrican, a London-based materials science company, to manufacture the silhouette worn by star model Bella Hadid live.

The latter, in panties, saw a dress come to life on her body, through a solution of cotton and synthetic fibers sprayed directly on her. As it dries, the material becomes fabric and reveals a white dress with a minimalist design. A fashion moment that has gone viral on social media and is reminiscent of Alexander McQueen’s “Savage Beauty” show in 1999 where a dress had been sprayed with paint in front of the public’s eyes. Something to eclipse the rest of the Coperni collection, feminine and sensual with its guipure babydolls, transparent chiffon tops, bare shoulders and backs.


At Loewe, Jonathan Anderson continues his formal research. Last season, placed under the sign of surrealism, he presented dress-sculptures in the shape of cars. This time, he plays with the notion of trompe-l’oeil, symbolized by the anthurium, this tropical flower in the shape of a vermilion red heart with a very phallic central spadix. “It is found in nature but it seems totally fake”laughs the creator.

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Each guest received one (real) and a monumental reproduction sits in the middle of the parade space. The wardrobe is, as expected, experimental, but tight around a few ideas: the illusion of course, with pretty tank tops with metal floral straps, rigid like the clothes with which we dress Playmobil. Jonathan Anderson also explores the theme of shrinkage, with skater dresses that stop in the middle of the buttocks or Canadian dresses that barely cover the waist.

A few sculptural dresses – her signature – raise questions: what do these three bristling peaks represent on the front of a draped bustier dress? Why does a suit jacket seem to have tucked into the skirt of a basket dress? In the middle of this stylistic laboratory, a few dresses in soft leather with sleeves so long that they graze the floor catch the eye: they accomplish the successful synthesis between the wearable and the conceptual.

mesh tunics

“A lament for the sadness of today’s world and a will to stand up. » Thus speaks Rei Kawakubo. The founder of the Comme des Garçons label is satisfied with a nominal phrase to sum up her collection, the spectacular shapes of which nevertheless raise many questions. Why these textile shells draped around the head and the body which give the air of a caterpillar withdrawn in its chrysalis? Why this incredible protuberance on the torso, this steep mountain decorated with a somewhat naive fabric of black flowers? Why these soft buoys piled around the body, from the face to the navel?

The unusual shapes give the models a grotesque, vulnerable or hypnotizing allure, and are all the more intense as they are carried by very advanced textile research. 3D roses huddle in a row of onions on black silk shorts; opulent floral and multicolored silk jacquards serve as a canvas for a dress whose sleeves graze the floor. We sometimes feel reminiscences XVIIIe in hairstyles reminiscent of “poofs” of Marie-Antoinette – a scaffolding of wire, fabrics, false and real hair – decorated here with beige paper origami. Body, clothing and sculpture form an inextricable whole, and in a fashion week full of information, posts and “likes”, a little mystery does not hurt.

Like boys.

Stable foal Like boys, Kei Ninomiya has nothing to envy to the bombast of Rei Kawakubo. Her label’s runway show, Noir, opens with a black openwork tubular construction that undulates around the model’s body. Those who succeed him carry around in a pearl gray suit enhanced with a black leather corset from which escape large stems at the end of which bloom flowers with large petals, translucent mesh tunics on which seem to grow a blue-green moss like magical coral or iridescent garlands, beaded tops as if drops of water encircle the bust or masterful pieces made up of strands of angel hair that float miraculously (in reality, thanks to an elaborate structure of plastic and metal). Kei Ninomiya’s wardrobe is teeming with ideas. It remains to be seen in the closet of which audacious client he will find his place, or if he will enter the museum immediately.

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