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Paco Rabanne AW16
Backstage at Paco Rabanne AW16Photography Chloé Le Drezen

Julien Dossena continues to bring new energy to Paco Rabanne

After presenting a ‘direct vision of clothes’ for AW16, it’s clear that Paris’ homeboy is set on injecting modernity into the house

French shows don’t get rapturous applause. Julien Dossena of Paco Rabanne though, is Paris’ homeboy – the one that everyone, including his former Balenciaga colleague Nicolas Ghesquière, cheers on. That’s because there’s a real frisson of energy going on at Paco Rabanne. The woman is swift, and she’s not weighed down by the heaving metal chainmail and hardware that the house is known for.

Injecting the brand with Dossena’s particular touch of modernity that might draw comparisons with say Jonathan Anderson or indeed, Ghesquière, has also meant a rethink in the brand’s strategy. Cue the See-Now, Buy-Now pieces from the collection, which are currently available on the website.    

“My starting point was to get a direct vision of clothes and accessibility at the same time, so it was less plain, less graphic,” said Dossena. “We really concentrated on the fabrics, like the tailoring in knit or the inducted satin. It was a really free collection for me to do, with this boyish feeling as well as a sharpness in the cutting.” 

Duvet skirts came half unbuttoned, straps flailed from harness tops, jackets and coats looked sharply engineered and even the selvedge jeans came with embroidered flames. The models walked in space-age moon boots as if ready to take flight. Being more settled at the brand, seemed to give Dossena license to play with playful elements such as a slinky chainmail (a reference to 90s Versus dresses) as well as an abstracted chinoiserie print, which blossomed towards the end of the show. This was sharp decoration – and sharpness is exactly what’s called for at a house that has a penchant for precise geometric formations.