Fire and dance as spectacles return to Paris fashion

PARIS • With feats of contemporary dance and fiery orbs being flung from cranes, two of the showiest men’s brands on Thursday brought some spectacle back to Paris Fashion Week after a subdued couple of years.

Japan’s Issey Miyake, known for innovative and dazzling catwalk shows, returned to Paris on for the first time since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Staged by Rachid Ouramdane, director of the Chaillot National Theatre, the show brought together models, performers and acrobats who not only strutted but danced, leapt and climbed the walls.

The outfits were suitably loose and easy to move in, with fresh and vibrant reds, yellows and greens that matched the mood of rebirth.

The brand had presented all its collections via online videos or installations around Paris over the past two years and was among the last to return to live shows.

“Now that it’s easier to travel the world, we think it’s the perfect moment to return with a full catwalk show,” a spokesperson told AFP.

Meanwhile, under a blazing sun in the courtyard of the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, US designer Rick Owens put on a typically arresting display.

It featured three giant spheres being set on fire, hoisted up by a crane and then dropped into the vast pool in the art centre’s fountain. He described it as a metaphor for a world “disturbed by war and constant online stone throwing” in the show notes.

As for the clothes, there were the trademark exaggerated shoulders and “grungey” glamour, but with some lighter touches in the form of transparent and billowing fabrics.

Some of the pieces used new sustainable materials that have become popular with designers as they try to counter the industry’s atrocious environmental record. One used a leather made from the discarded scales of the giant pirarucu fish in the Brazilian Amazon.

“(It’s) a skin I use over and over,” he said in the notes. “Fished as a food source by indigenous communities in the Amazon Forest, the skins are then sold as a waste product generating income for them.” — AFP / Pic by AFP