Paco Rabanne creative director Julien Dossena isn't one to rest on his laurels — or the laurels of the brand’s namesake designer. Dossena, of course, is responsible for the iconic French brand’s most recent revival: In the last half of the decade, Paco Rabanne has gone from a heritage label best known for dressing Jane Fonda in 1968’s space-age classic, Barberella, to one of the most esteemed and easily recognizable brands in the logo era — all without capitalizing on the logo itself. To that end, Dossena could’ve rested on the success of his modern iterations of the Rhodium plate dresses, or the reissue of the 1969 brass disc bags, or the acrylic floral midi dresses, or the chainmail anything. Instead, for Paco Rabanne’s Fall 2020 runway collection, which showed in Paris Feb. 27, Dossena proved he can do more than modernize old Paco: He can also dream up something innovative and unexpected.
“This Paco Rabanne collection presents a composite portrait of women who conjure contemporary forces of light and dark," read the show notes. "Exploring new territory through elaborate workmanship, Julien Dossena adapts garments associated with historical dress to arrive at radically crafted expressions of female power.” The show notes go on, “Like the gothic vaulting that defines the setting, the fundamental aspects of Paco Rabanne — namely, the metal mesh and assemblage in silver and gold — become the foundation from which alternate ideas emerge.”
That’s all to say, yes, the foundation of the brand is decidedly space age, and Dossena’s not saying goodbye to all that, but rather building upon it. The dichotomy of what comprises Paco Rabanne is the brand’s ultra-feminine ethos — in the Fall 2020 collection, that meant Victorian lace collars, sheer organza, and body-skimming chain mail — playing in contrast to the structured, almost medieval shape of tailored coats and caplets.
“Religious vestments worn by men are subtly transformed into assertive, feminine looks, such as an unadorned tasseled dress in mohair suggestive of a monk’s robe, or the finery of papal lace,” the show notes continued.
Of course, Dossena also showed a few new iterations of the ever-popular chainmail bags. This time, expect "various new identities: square tiling that resembles vintage porcelain covered in tea roses; small suede discs printed with wild flowers; gold medallions akin to old coins." It's only a matter of time until you'll welcome them on your feed, too.