There is nothing at all pretty like the experience of one of Julien Dossena’s attire in opposition to your pores and skin. In the entrance row of his Paco Rabanne present on Wednesday afternoon—he has been the resourceful director there for a decade now—the actress Jemima Kirke was recounting how she’d attempted on 1 of his metal creations, performed in specialist deference to Rabanne’s unorthodox, house-age creations, in the atelier the day ahead of. “It was freezing,” she mentioned. However she sounded sort of titillated by the working experience. (She ended up putting on a knit gold-and-silver crop major and matching very long skirt by the brand instead, and appeared pretty relaxed.)
This is Dossena’s signature essential: His garments are remarkable and often baffling, and decidedly erotic. Like Rabanne, he works by using plastic, chainmail, and metallic, his atelier attaching shimmering discs and fringe blades by hand utilizing small silver rings. But even when he ventures into other products, the impact is thrilling. At a time when everything looks plucked from the Instagram temper board, Dossena would make clothes that are provocative and, in description, look like they shouldn’t very work—like slide 2023’s chaotic orange floral prints tiered concerning dense black lace on a robe, or beige plush wrapped around the shoulders like tentacles from a negative aspiration. And nonetheless, they glimpse completely come hither.
“That romance involving the human body and this sort of materials, for [Rabanne], it was what he observed virtually fetishistic,” Dossena mentioned in a dialogue in late February. It was also the second of the sexual revolution—Rabanne initially emerged in the 1960s, and died earlier this year—and “women were being acknowledging their bodies in a distinctive way, and [there was] that freedom of sexuality, and the decision to be fascinating in a new way.” Dossena’s description of Rabanne’s first second of results seems not compared with our existing working day, with women gravitating toward sexier or even additional intense clothing.
Dossena has built Paco Rabanne the go-to brand for women who want something strange but extravagant. Moda Operandi founder Lauren Santo Domingo, who normally wears Paco herself, states the clothing provide briskly on her internet site: “There is such desire that we introduced an special capsule of Julien’s signature chainmail, scratch lace, and jacquard knits recolored in white in October, with several styles promoting out in just days of launch.”
In the audience ended up business electric power players and fellow designers, like Louis Vuitton artistic director Nicolas Ghesquiere (under whom Dossena worked at Balenciaga), shoe designer Pierre Hardy, and Jean Paul Gaultier. (The presence of Gaultier included one more layer of intrigue—could Dossena be the next designer in Gaultier’s rotating forged of guest couturiers?)
No matter if he’s headed somewhere else or not, Dossena this year is poised to elevate himself to a new stage of fashion infamy. In a sea of increasingly anodyne and wearable significant style, Dossena goes his personal way. Friends at the Wednesday demonstrate who had been dressed in Rabanne clanged up and down the plush-lined runway beforehand using selfies with fellow Rabanne-clad attendees. My seatmate, Lisa Rinna, laughed about the impracticalities of donning a brief accommodate whose material resembled upholstery, coated in a layer of vinyl. But when the demonstrate commenced and the cutout tangerine-orange gowns bedazzled with pomegranate hearts commenced coming down the runway, she was gasping with need. As Santo Domingo place it of Dossena’s get the job done, “I find that even though Julien’s garments are fashion-forward to say the least, they are simple to don, with both of those the top quality and match currently being spot-on.”
Doing the job in the atelier, Dossena and his team intention for “that lightness, that easiness. For it not to be a costume, but for it to be a authentic costume.” But they are also one of the couple of style properties motivated by novelty and experimentation. “You have usually to experiment and to check out and to research with your teams how to get that emotion of newness, I would say, or how to get the job done a new content.” Those people fur-like tentacle items, for case in point, were really made out of a deep-pile, tremendous-hairy wool. “There is a stitching device for certain, mainly because there are some items in material also. But a ton of it is like, in essence there is no equipment. It’s actually by hand most of the time. It’s definitely a craftsmanship that is, let’s say, inherent to the residence. There are a lot of people in this article opening the rings and putting the components jointly and engineering.”
When he arrived, there was even now one particular employee in the atelier who had worked with Rabanne himself, and assisted Dossena ideal his metallic mesh procedure. Usually, it is Dossena and youthful manner university graduates figuring out how to function with unorthodox materials. “I have seen some actually youthful people coming from university a few many years back that now are at the major of the chainmail atelier, let us say. And they discover on the world wide web. They figured out a ton from the archive also. It is a serious development each time, relying on the content and the form of the ingredient that we’re gonna use to make that dress. It is actually engineering.”
If they may learn a lot more traditional strategies at other Parisian ateliers, his staff like to “be a little bit punkish” and find out about hammering and stringing factors together as a substitute.
The drop 2023 selection located its footing in a efficiency between Rabanne and Salvador Dalí, who were longtime buddies. (Allegedly, Spanish-born Dalí when termed Spanish-born Rabanne “the 2nd-best Spanish artist”—after himself.) Surrealism is a topic which is captivated a selection of designers these days, from Jonathan Anderson at Loewe to Daniel Roseberry’s Schiaparelli, but Dossena managed to make it feel distinctive. Most impressive have been a quartet of attire printed with Dalí paintings, created with the cooperation of the Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí, which stretched and distorted about imperious cape-again robes. (They were essentially stylish sufficient to be awards show dress contenders.) The plan was that the costume would appear as even though “it was slice from the painting of Dalí,” Dossena spelled out, an amusingly incendiary strategy that remembers the “creative freedom” and “radical modernity” Dossena admired in each Rabanne and Dalí.
Dossena is keen to emphasize the couture high-quality of significantly of his output, in particular the chainmail, which is now a material employed greatly in fashion. “Working at Paco, I actually set tension on myself to be the finest at that, you know?” But what he seeks most of all is “to make it related.”
“Because it can go tremendous simple in this type of sci-fi movie, costume [feeling]. So how to make it seriously related in the tale of the clearly show, for illustration, or in the current?”
The sheer selection of women gleefully dressed in the designer’s goods advised he’s effectively on his way. He mused toward the stop of our dialogue on how he thinks about designing for a lady, as a male. “I’m seeking to assist girls, as substantially as I can, to be, at a specific minute, the actual girl they want to be. The incarnation of a robust woman, with unbiased confidence. And, of training course, taking care of the entire body of the female. I never ever want them to be vulnerable, specially in the earth appropriate now.”
Rachel Tashjian is the Trend Information Director at Harper’s Bazaar, doing the job across print and digital platforms. Beforehand, she was GQ’s very first vogue critic, and worked as deputy editor of GARAGE and as a author at Vainness Good. She has penned for publications like Bookforum and Artforum, and is the creator of the invitation-only newsletter Opulent Tips.