Review: Paco Rabanne’s and Kei Ninomiya’s Noir
PARIS — Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos are not the only people thinking about extraterrestrial exploration.
The promise of alternate dimensions has long captured a chunk of the fashion imagination — none more so than that of the designer Paco Rabanne, who died last month at age 88. Julien Dossena has been carrying on that legacy at the house Mr. Rabanne built, and he left a note on every seat at his show thanking the original designer for his dream of a “creative utopia, which pushed the frontiers of reality.”
Then he picked up the idea and ran with it: into big, fuzzy knit tops and pants that transformed the wearer into a sort of snuggly creature-feature; into long dresses covered with a net of transparent plastic paillettes that reflected light and created their own syncopation as the models walked (it gave new meaning to the idea of personal portable sound system, though it can’t be turned off, which may be an issue); and into liquid silver and gold chain-mail gowns spliced with leather — plus a few archive looks, in homage. The result resembled the armor of a medieval Valkyrie from a faraway solar system: a little campy, a little cool. Also, the output of the costume department at Marvel, if Marvel moved to Avenue Montaigne.
If Mr. Dossena took us to a Valhalla of superheroes from King Arthur’s court, at Noir, Kei Ninomiya flew us way past the moon, into — well, who knows? A place where women were transformed into magical dandelions, bristling iridescent fronds that vibrated around a riotous core of color; or where whole gardens bloomed over the body; or a lunar rock became the perfect hat and a skirt was made from a vortex of aluminum.
He called it “an exploration of a new dimension,” in one of those aphorisms that, in theory, explains the genesis of a collection and now are regularly issued by designers in the Comme des Garçons stable (he is one), following the lead of Rei Kawakubo.
As for that dimension, it is possible it exists only in Mr. Ninomiya’s mind, but that’s exactly what is great about fashion. To borrow a phrase from Dr. Seuss: Oh, the places you’ll go.
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