20 jan 2023
This Thursday, buyers, journalists and fashionistas toured a Paris at times empty, at times plagued by unbearable traffic, due to a long day of strike against a plan to reform the pension system announced by the French Government. Two international brands, the Danish Rains and the Chinese designer Sean Suen, presented their collections in this unusual setting for this time of year in the French capital, supported by a strong vision.
Post-apocalyptic heroes in Rains
As a symbol of the atmosphere of this January 19, 2023, fashion lovers crowded the entrance of the Danish brand’s show in the cool morning, waiting in front of the facade of the bar “Dernier bar avant la fin du monde” ( Last bar before the end of the world), in the Chatelet neighborhood. A nod also to the theme of the show presented by Philip Lotko, Daniel Brix Hesselager and his team. After climbing a few floors up a security staircase, the audience settled into a large, dark room with a high ceiling. An intense cello piece marked the beginning of the show, in which a large curtain revealed the hall of the Théâtre du Châtelet: the catwalk and its spectators were, in fact, on the stage of the great Parisian theater built in 1862 that hosts every year the French cinema Césars awards ceremony.
Naturally, the evening was filled with cinematic inspiration. In a dark environment, marked by a tense and oppressive soundtrack, Rains’ models parade determined to face the challenges of a neurotic age. Like the survivors of a cataclysm, these boys and girls wear futuristic outfits ready to face the harshness of both the elements and their fellow humans. More than silhouettes, the looks appeal to references from anticipation and science fiction cinema. For the presentation of this autumn-winter 2023/24 collection, the firm specialized in pieces with sleeves has pushed the limits in the interpretation of its universe.
“Our idea was to celebrate everyday heroes, ready to face difficult situations. Our approach is not dark and many pieces are colorful, and even the music is sometimes very lively, but even superheroes have their dark side,” explained Philip Lotko. at the end of the event.
“Naturally, from a commercial point of view, many of the runway pieces are unimaginable, but we use our materials, the bases of our patterns, and we involve the entire design team in the process. This also unleashes the creativity of the team , something that is felt throughout the collection”, he insisted.
The show featured a whole gallery of characters with messy haircuts and weird makeup. Sometimes vagabonds, reminiscent of McCarthy’s The Road with neopunk cuts, dressed in several layered puffer jackets, with or without sleeves, khaki ensembles with multiple pockets, or enormous parkas that skimmed the ground, always with bags in surprising formats for conserve some vital resource.
Sometimes the silhouettes are reminiscent of castes or neo-nobility, like in Dune or Star Wars. The slender young women wear sleeveless anthracite bustier dresses with short trains, their faces lost in a black hood, or large royal blue coats.
We also spotted a great light yellow coat, toned with loose puffer pants that might allow you to wear some ski boots… only she’s wearing the new collaboration with German 3D-printed sneaker brand Zellerfeld (who notably collaborated with Heron Preston) and which will soon be on sale.
Some of these jackets have a large collar that covers almost the entire head… but lets out, through a cut at the height of the shoulder blades, a long mane that floats to the middle of the back. Even more eccentric, short or long puffer jackets, or even in the form of a dress, have sleeves that are attached in a loose drawstring at the back of the models. A female duo paraded joined by the cord, as if they were conjoined twins from the future.
Some of these characters sport a stylized R on their shoulder or chest, like the superheroes of tomorrow. To conclude this gallery of characters, a powerful girlfriend determined to mark the scene with her presence. The same enormous R was etched in large format on the back of her voluminous gown as she joined her tribe in the gilded Châtelet theater. In his show, Rains was able to create a dream world without losing the framework of his brand identity.
The powerful silhouettes of Sean Suen
Sean Suen’s silhouettes are powerful, inspired by the ancient culture of the Yi people of the mountainous regions of Sichuan. The Chinese designer rigorously cuts suits, coats, jackets and coats in precious black woolen cloth, which are buttoned on the right, like the traditional costumes of this town.
Other elements inspired by his clothes interfere in this imposing sartorial wardrobe. Like the turban topped with a feather, the fringed scarf on the shoulder or the voluminous pleated pants. Large metal buttons adorn garments like jewels, used as brooches, on a belt buckle, as rings sewn on woolen gloves or as studs that cover black leather shoes.
Leather, in particular, is worked in different textures, smooth or with cracked effects, with which impeccably cut suits are made, as well as coats and trousers that resemble skirts. Large fur coats complete this wardrobe with a dark palette, illuminated by the orange glow of a satin shirt and pants. Solemnity and spirituality seem to pervade the collection, in particular through its loose-fitting trousers, reminiscent of the long robes of the monks, as well as the maxi-coat turned inside out, like a cassock.
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Paris, between the Orient and Scandinavia, with Rains and Sean Suen