Xuly Bet: Recycling fashion near a zero-waste plant
Long before a lot of people could spell recycling, or even had any clue what it meant, Xuly Bet had single-handedly invented the concept – about 20 years ahead of his time.
Now, it isn’t always very easy to catch the shows of many talented designers, notably those of Xuly Bet. This season, Bet staged his latest show in Ivry-sur-Seine, a suburb outside the Paris ring road, during rush hour on a Monday of heavy downpours. Admittedly the neighborhood does boast a zero-waste incinerator.
Yet a faithful posse of fans and editors made the trek along the river and over a railway bridge to the back-end of a station in teeming rain. On arriving inside a looming redbrick storage facility, everyone in masks, they perched on 1960s Formica chairs as the show began.
Just as much as he eschews new materials, Bet likes a lived-in cast, or what the French call Un Casting Sauvage. This season the cast were primarily of people of color like himself, and practically no professional models.
The designer named this collection: Funkin’ Fashion Factory, which is exactly what it was. Jazzy tie jacquards in red and orange or green and blue rocking-horse patterns used in a mannish suits for women, or parkas and jumpsuits for guys. All paired with revamped track pants, or pumps with crocket trim.
Though Bet’s best ideas are his signature remade Lycra cocktails with red trim, which on the right figure ooze downtown French chic. In case you didn’t get the idea,d several coats were embossed with gold or blood red resin texts reading Club Catalogue and Copyright Recycled.
All backed up by a dance rock soundtrack, including the fashion insiders’ favorite DJ Honey Dijon’s remix of Why.
Great to see the godfather of recycling back and being feted in Paris, after spending the past few years living in New York. Bet has been breathing new life into vintage clothing since the early 1990s. Rarely have they looked better.
“I felt it was important to assemble our world here. We need that raw feeling of a show. The sense of event, of coming together. It’s far more heart-warming than a video,” opined Bet, who took a jack-heeled bow, bouncing up and down among his cast as the crowd of 300 roared their approval.
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