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Saturday, June 22, 2024

A weekend in Paris with Koché, Kolor and Kiko Kostadinov

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The weekend was an opportunity to discover some interesting and varied men’s collections for Spring/Summer 2024. Creative diversity was on show, with Koché presenting a collection that was both sober and sophisticated, Kolor, which this season produced a highly technical and sporty wardrobe, and Kiko Kostadinov, which questioned putting oneself front stage.

Koché, SS24 – © ImaxTree

It was a very summery collection that Christelle Kocher unveiled on Friday next to a swimming pool on a barge floating on the Seine. Like the water and sky that served as the backdrop for the show, the palette featured gradations of blue with flashes of sunny yellow. The aquatic theme runs discreetly through the collection, whether in the wave-like traces or reflections of water that run through the shiny blue leather ensembles, or in the undulating stripes used to make asymmetrical body-hugging dresses.
 
For her return to the catwalks, this time in the men’s calendar, the founder of Koché abandoned the streetwear-couture style that has characterised her creations to date, to concentrate on clothes that are more stripped back in appearance, but no less sophisticated in their finishes. Crochet mermaid dresses are made in a variety of stitches. Openwork net tops are quilted with delicate feathers or covered in silver leaves. Others are edged with imperceptible lace, while jersey pieces are adorned with crystals and glittering embroidery.

The designer found the right balance between a refined design for everyday wear and couture details that transform her clothes into special pieces. Women wore dresses that exposed the shoulders and floated lightly over the body, constructed from strips of different fabrics: chiffon, silk georgette, lace and satin. Stretch materials are mixed with embroidery. Sometimes draped, the garments resembled vestal robes.
 
For the men, the looks were more casual, with Bermuda shorts, unbuttoned shirts over T-shirts, and crumpled linen and cotton suits, with a side stripe running down the trousers, reminiscent of a more sporty outfit. Quotes from Patti Smith, Virginia Woolf and Virginie Despentes are handwritten on shorts, shirts and jerseys, as if scribbled on a blank page.
 

Kolor, SS24 – © ImaxTree

With Kolor, the season did not matter. The brand’s founder, Junichi Abe, dreamt of snow. At the very least, a nice storm. He even distributed a waterproof cape to each of his guests. Unluckily, it was the sun that prevailed, beaming its scorching rays onto the catwalk, set up in the middle of a courtyard at the Faculté de Jussieu. Designed for next summer, the men’s and women’s collection seems paradoxically to have been created as mountain and winter sports wear. It even includes jacquard Christmas jumpers in classic Norwegian motifs – albeit with short sleeves – and matching woollen mittens!
 
Sandals with colourful ribbons were paired with woollen socks or replaced with hiking boots with neoprene soles. Trekking, skiing, paragliding… Sport has a major influence on the collection, with a predilection for nylon, parachute canopies and technical fabrics. Junichi Abe cut large mackintoshes with reinforced shoulders and elbows and a multitude of lightweight windbreakers and anoraks, as well as shorts, aviator suits and ski trousers. While, the back of a jacket is decorated with several trompe-l’œil anorak edges, including those with a built-in hood.
 
The Japanese designer also used impalpable, waterproof materials, sometimes slightly crumpled, to decorate pieces with coloured stripes or details, using them to cover the lapel or shoulder of a classic jacket, for example, or to make bolero waistcoats or tops with coloured stripes. Laces, straps, zips, reflective strips and Velcro replace buttons.
 

Kiko Kostadinov, SS24 – © ImaxTree

In the long corridors of the Lycée Henri IV, tables and chairs were thrown in a heap on the floor, while clothes, including a series of white blouses, hung from racks along the way. This installation by American artist Tom Burr introduced us to Kiko Kostadinov’s fifteenth collection, with its casual yet sophisticated and conceptual wardrobe.
 
Suit jackets are buttoned at the side and have a martingale at the back. Some ensembles feature zips on pockets, sleeves and the lower legs, making them easy to take apart. Some shirts are triple-breasted. Big, colourful loops of trimmings can be seen on the sleeves of shirts and the bottoms of trousers.
 
A collector of archives and always inspired by the cinema, this season the young Bulgarian designer, based in London, explored the boundary between stage and backstage on the theme of a film within a film. Alternating between the outfits of penniless students playing the role of extras, in cardigans, twisted waistcoats and fine scarves knitted from thick strips of wool in different colours, and stage outfits, such as long tunics in lurex jersey.
 
The designer’s inspiration came from Pier Paolo Pasolini’s short film La Ricotta, which films Orson Welles as his alter ego grappling with the re-enactment of The Passion of the Christ. The black and white film switches to colour when it shows a painting by Masaccio depicting the descent from the cross. The red, blue and yellow of this Quattrocento work have been used in coats and a thickly pleated knitted waistcoat.
 

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