Mar 7, 2016
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Paris fashion rediscovers its rebel heart

Mar 7, 2016

Paris fashion has rediscovered its taste for rebellion with designers playing fast and loose not just with the old rules of couture but also with France's ban on the full-face veil.

Vetements AW16/17 Paris Fashion Week - PixelFormula

The mould-breaking French label Vetements -- the new darling of the fashion press -- staged a show full of teenage revolt and defiance in a cathedral late Thursday, while American Rick Owens flirted with the law by completely shrouding the heads of 14 of his models in veils.

France bans all covering of the face in public since a controversial 2010 law aimed at the Muslim niqab and burqa.

But it had the unintentional effect of technically making some full body suits, Zentais and even children's party animal costumes illegal.

Owens has a reputation as an iconoclast who last year displayed the genitals of his male models through strategically placed peepholes.

The previous year, at the height of the Greek debt crisis, one of his models carried a placard down the catwalk declaring, "Please kill Angela Merkel not".

But his spokesman told AFP Friday that the veils were not meant to be provocative.

- 'Cupcake frosting' -

"There was no shock value intended. It was not meant to be controversial, rather it was more of a poetic statement," he said.

"They are a bit see-through, you can see the hair."

Rick Owens AW16/17 Paris Fashion Week - PixelFormula

In his notes to the collection, inspired by the Salvador Dali painting "Swans Reflecting Elephants", the LA-born designer refers to them as "cupcake frosting".

While Owen continued with the protective mohair cocoons of his recent men's collection, the young label Vetements was all attitude and aggression.

Headed by 36-year-old Georgian Demna Gvasalia, who now also designs for the venerable fashion house Balenciaga, its show was one of the Paris fashion week's hottest tickets.

And it didn't disappoint. Led off by the stylist Lotta Volkova in what Vogue called an "obscenely short brown childlike dress", it took the sullen, shrugging teenager look to another level with reimagined streetwear and hoodies.

Having earlier declared that "there are no genders anymore", it mixed its men's and women's collections, with pinstripe shirt dresses and short hockey skirts straight from St. Trinian's.


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