Marco Ribeiro, Paula Canovas del Vas, Cecilie Bahnsen and Mossi bring colour and modernity to Paris
In addition to showcasing leading brands loved by the press and social media, the latest edition of Paris Fashion Week saw new names that habitually reside outside the spotlight. Colourful, cutting-edge and innovative presentations included the debut of Brazilian designer Marco Ribeiro, the conceptual art of Spaniard Paula Canovas del Vas, Danish designer Cecilie Bahnsen's take on couture, and the innovative textiles of French designer Mossi Traoré.
Marco Ribeiro's rainbow
"Joy, diversity and plenty of colours" are the main defining characteristics of Marco Ribeiro, founded in 2018 by the Brazilian eponymous designer. Entitled 'Waves of Love', the collection presented in a space just a few metres away from the Place de la Bastille made references to the designer's childhood memories and immigration. These themes were expressed through vibrant colours that intermingled in patchwork-style compositions or contrasting stripes, using surplus fabrics to create asymmetrical skirts, loose-fitting trousers and structured shirts.
"My plan was to debut in Paris with a special collection, friendly and true to my colourful style. Colours mean a lot to me and are essential for conveying emotions and different forms of love," explained the designer who has been based in the French capital for eight years, arguing that today's geopolitical context should encourage everyone to treat others "with a little bit more kindness."
For the moment established as a "fairly artistic brand", Ribeiro's future ambitions include joining the official fashion week calendar and even presenting a Haute Couture show, as well as building a solid business with the support of a team to boost his brand's global reach.
Available for sale through its own online store, the brand has recently set its sights into expanding into new markets through a partnership with British singer Harry Styles, made possible by his stylist, Harry Lambert. In addition to having commissioned Ribeiro to provide several of the looks for his tour, the performer and the Brazilian designer have joined forces to create the first collaboration of Pleasing, the make-up brand founded by the singer in November 2021. The result? A collection that includes an eyeshadow palette, three cream pigments, a multi-purpose gloss and five different shades of nail polish, all featuring Ribeiro's signature bold colours.
Paula Canovas del Vas' invitation to a sensory experience
The LVMH Prize 2022 finalist made her return to Paris Fashion Week with a collection full of vivid colours, contrasting textures and unexpected shapes. True to her avant-garde style, the London-based Spanish designer presented an interactive presentation at the Instituto Cervantes in the French capital, in which the models walked in a performance-like fashion through a two-storey white space, playing with fruits and seeds to create shapes in different corners of the installation.
Inspired by films such as La Grande Bouffe and The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover, as well as Judy Chicago's art installation The Dinner Party, Canovas del Vas invited guests to a multi-sensory banquet featuring edible elements in dialogue with her avant-garde garments, which are created mainly from leftover stock. Positioned in an accessible premium segment, the brand retails its creations through its own online shop or platforms such as Ssense or Farfetch.
"This season, I was really interested in making something big and shrinking it down to something small," the designer explained about experimenting with elastic materials or techniques to shrink fabrics. "I love experimenting with textures such as juxtaposing mohair with shiny latex, putting mesh over denim, matte with shiny," she continued regarding the contrasts present in jumpers with circle-shaped openings, draped bras layered over fitted shirts in gradient tones, parachute jackets and dresses with technical laces used to define their shape and volume. Accessories and details were equally eye-catching, such as almost animal-like bags featuring fringes and tentacles, voluptuous hats, pointy-toed shoes and spiky manicures.
Cecilie Bahnsen's couture for everyday wear
For its second appearance at Paris Fashion Week, Danish fashion house Cecilie Bahnsen invited its guests to the Cour Mansart de la Monnaie to present its 'We Are Water' collection.
In addition to parading in the intermittent rain, the show was infused with references to water in the form of rippling waves and included an installation of 250 clear glass bottles of different shapes, blown by the artist Nina Nørgaard, and placed on mirrors. The piece was inspired by an exhibition the Copenhagen-born artist saw at the Louisiana Museum, in which Yoko Ono displayed a row of bottles filled with water on shelves labelled with the names of famous people, such as Sylvia Plath and David Bowie.
Lightweight silhouettes with dramatic volumes explored the asymmetry of dresses and tops, featuring dropped sleeves and draped skirts. Layering looks saw sheer chiffon garments layered over tops or trousers, while dresses were worn over lightweight knit tops. In keeping with the season's trend, the brand brought in bold colours such as apple green, electric blue and mauve to its usual black and white colour palette.
"This season I've been thinking a lot about how the girls in the studio and in our community wear our clothes. How they can wear a dress on a rainy Tuesday morning to feel good or to a party on Saturday night," explained the designer, known for her voluptuous, romantic, bucolic-style dresses.
"I grew up dreaming of Paris and couture, but always understood it as something sophisticated, not for everyday wear. I love the idea of being able to create something beautiful for day-to-day wear," she concluded.
The show's looks were paired with flashy pairs of sneakers for a laid-back streetwear touch, courtesy of the brand's collaboration with Asics.
Innovation and commitment to sustainability at Mossi
Meanwhile, Parisian designer Traoré championed innovation by using a sustainable fabric in his latest capsule collection, currently on sale at the Printemps department store. Developed in collaboration with the CETI (European Centre for Innovative Textiles) and the French dairy subsidiary Cniel, the new material is made from litres of discarded milk not destined for food consumption, which is then treated to extract the casein from the milk and transformed into a textile fibre that can be used to make garments. This environmentally responsible material 'made in France' aims to limit waste and position itself as a biodegradable alternative to synthetic fabrics.
The fabric was able to construct a limited-edition collection consisting of lightweight, relaxed-fit, oversized garments in black and white, including loose-fitting T-shirts and asymmetrical midi skirts. In parallel, Mossi, which won the Prix Pierre Bergé de l'Andam in 2020, also took advantage of Paris Fashion Week to present its collection for next spring. Entitled 'Les Ripeurs' ('The Dumpers'), the range stayed true to Mossi's environmentally conscious identity, revisiting the codes of urban workers' uniforms. Neon mini-dresses reminiscent of reflective yellow gilets or bright green overalls paired with orange gloves and boots gave a new meaning to the work clothes of urban workers.
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