Bagpipes rang out across a busy station forecourt while shower-heads spouted “rain” from the windows of a historic courtyard, as young designers kicked off Paris Fashion Week on Tuesday.
Paris’ Karim Bonnet — who started out reworking second-hand clothes into what he called a “post-punk” look — sent his models down an open-air catwalk outside the capital’s Gare de l’Est, to the wailing sound of the pipes.
One model wore a bodice of edible-looking white pearls across her back, her breasts naked under a draped shirt of sheer lace, and tufts of shocking pink tulle adorning the toes of her balance-defying shoes.
There was a bricolage, pick-and-mix feel to Bonnet’s dresses made of thick, rug-like, multicoloured wraps, cut from old jute sacks or brown paper bags, or the utilitarian-looking chains used for shoulder straps.
Brooke Taylor — who with his real-life partner Nana Aganovich forms the London-based duo Aganovich — told AFP their spring/summer 2011 look is “a puzzle, which lets you combine and accessorise clothes, collars and sleeves.”
But here the tone was sober, austere even, with clean black-and-white lines, only broken up by the occasional oil-stain like red print, inspired by poppies by the US photographer Irving Penn.
The design duo set up a rusty anchor and piled-up ship chains in the centre of a typical Marais courtyard to showcase their latest look.
Edgy, booming underwater sounds filled the space as shower-heads spouted out water from three floors up, while the models stepped out with hair plastered right back, a stripe of turquoise blue on the eyes for sole makeup.
Sober-cut dresses of ivory silk were paired with asymetrical boleros or capes, while skin-tight trousers in tiny black-and-white polka dots was paired with a sheer black half jacket that left one shoulder naked.
Wood and cloth dummies placed in the windows around the courtyard modelled the rest of the collection, including A-line pleated dresses topped off with broad-brimmed, drooping lace hats.
After stops in New York, London and Milan, 91 catwalk shows in the official calendar of Paris Fashion Week are to keep the fashion crowd on its toes for nine days to October 6.
Once the day is done, Paris is also set for a burst of extravagant partying, with fashion magazines and brands competing to attract the in-crowd to glammed-up late night events.