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Monday, April 15, 2024

Elsewhere in Paris: Courrèges, Bluemarble and Rains

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Three collections in Paris this week – Courrèges, Bluemarble and Rains – all dipped into California this season, riffing on cult movies, LA skateboarders and Hollywood hits. FashionNetwork.com checked out all three.  

Courrèges: California Dreamin’ on such a summer day

Courrèges designer Nicolas Di Felice looked west, way west, this season in a collection inspired by Michelangelo Antonioni’s cult classic movie ‘Zabriskie Point’.

Courrèges Spring/Summer 2024 – Courrèges

Like in the film, which begins with a police crackdown on student protests, there is a campus vibe, as Di Felice reworked his classic Courrèges leather jacket in black canvas to make it more accessible. He showed jeans in a more relaxed boot cut jeans, and even developed a quirky new twin set for men: a shirt with hood and matching underwear.
Cool, cropped rough pinstripe stripe jackets, deconstructed versions in felty wool, and fab surgeon’s smocks made in chalk stripe all looked great. Di Felice is a great self-editor and his use of silver buckles, short straps and zips were all perfect. Add in some more youthful versions of the classic plastic covered Courrèges space jackets and this was a concise fashion statement.

“This is the road-trip that I imagine for this season,” smiled Di Felice at his presentation in a Marais studio. His most recent runway show riffed on Zabriskie Point with lights were coming out of the runway. 
In the film, the beautiful hippie couple eventually move to Monument Valley, falling in love. Almost as a celebration, Nicolas dreamed up a couple of couture worthy looks  for them – a prismatic tank top and a very cool sleeveless jumpsuit with buttons sewn diagonally across the front.
In its presentation of spring/summer 2024 pre-coll for men and women shown during the Paris menswear runway season, Courrèges had some of the best ideas of the season.
Unusually for a designer, Di Felice works directly with two fit models – male and female, so the two collections often work in parallel lines. Most designers pointedly keep the process apart. 
Di Felice doesn’t have a huge budget, but his shows, collections and ideas always pack plenty of punch. All the way to his great wee look-book done by the best – stylist Marie Chaix, casting by Piergiorgio del Moro, photography Robin Galiegue.
“I don’t have a merchandiser, I do it myself. I knew what I wanted when I began,” insisted Nicolas, holding in his hand yet another great idea. A stainless-steel shoe from the archive – which he has made into a great new square-toed high heel.

Bluemarble: Very superstitious

West met East – or California came to Paris – in the latest collection of Bluemarble, presented with brio, and a dollop of superstition, on a steamy Wednesday afternoon.

Bluemarble – Spring-Summer2024 – Menswear – Paris – © ImaxTree

Staged in a forgotten concrete atelier at the back of the Gare de Lyon, the space was built with orange carpets, mirrored walls and cobalt-hued mounds of sand that represented a dream catcher.
The collection also evidenced designer and founder Anthony Alvarez’s growing maturity. He opened with some crisp suits – natty and languid tailoring, in keeping with menswear current yen for clean elegance. 
But always with a twist – seeing as his tailoring was paired with Bluemarble’s first collab’ – a linkup with Diemme of Italy. The result: a long mule, jazzed up with removable skateboarder’s tongue.
Everything overlaid with California Dreamin’ – like the abstract-impressionist nylon bombers, giant T-shirts or some great skateboarders’ pants, adding a gritty touch to the silhouette.
Though the coolest item was the look he wore himself – a board V-neck T-shirt held together with chains and printed with auto racing and car parts signs.
There was plenty of glitter throughout the collection – as rhinestones slid down classic western shirts, or tops came with heat-pressed starbursts. 
“I wanted something a little more grown up, while staying young, nostalgia but also joyful nostalgia. Like for my two grand-mums, one Filipino and one Corsican, who were both so superstitious,” revealed Alvarez.
Hence, lucky charms and circles were printed on skate pants to ward off evil spirits. And the spiral shell from Corsica, known as the Eye of Saint Lucie, appeared in studs on ozone-treated cargo pants.
But his most memorable idea was a super series of hibiscus prints. From flower power hippie knee-length pants finished with pearls and crystals, to some great clinging body stockings worn with white colonial officer shorts. Very superstitious, writing on the pants, not wall.

Rains: Singin’ in the rain

It rained – torrentially – on Rains this Thursday, but the show and collection were none the worse for that.

Rains – Spring-Summer2024 – Menswear – Paris – © ImaxTree

Between a steady, almost Biblical downpour and a financial summit in the Bourse de Paris, which created a monumental gridlock, it took a while to get the Rains show started. But the collection – staged in a raw unrenovated building that is regarded as the 2nd arrondissement’s great eyesore – was certainly worth the wait.
Rains make really excellent all-weather gear, cut with remarkable flourish and styled with flair. There are echoes of Yohji Yamamoto and Rick Owens in the silhouette – but always on designer Tanne Vinter’s own terms. 
She opened with long layered rain gear in a palette of putty, pale gray, pebble, metallic blue and Valentino red. All ideal for dark in winter Denmark and gray and wet Paris.
Even more impressive are the shapes, from cantilevered padded ponchos to hoodies cut off at the tummy or perforated PU skirts. All anchored by funky sculpted plastic clogs or moon boots shaped like garbage bags. Made in blends of PU and techy nylon, the clothes are haute functional, yet funky and fun too.
And the brand’s biggest recent nod of approval came from the ultimate luxury label Hermès, no less. Guests at Hermès brilliant equestrian performance art display in the Camargue, were all gifted a raincoat for the evening event in Europe’s greatest river delta. The brand chosen: Rains.

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