PARIS — Paco Rabanne has promoted its hip young studio design director Lydia Maurer to the position of creative director for women’s wear. Maurer will present her first collection for the house during Paris Fashion Week in October and will also oversee accessories.
The news comes one month after the house, which is owned by Barcelona-based Puig, revealed that it had parted ways with designer Manish Arora by mutual agreement after two seasons of collaboration. The Indian designer was brought on board last year to revive the brand’s dormant fashion business.
Maurer, 29, joined the Paco Rabanne studio in November to help oversee the house’s fall collection, which garnered positive reviews, attracting a number of key new retailers, such as Le Bon Marché. The brand for now has a niche positioning and is distributed in about 50 points of sale.
Maurer was born in Germany and is half-Colombian, half-German. She studied fashion design at Studio Berçot in Paris and has worked on the design teams of Yves Saint Laurent, Martine Sitbon and Givenchy.
In an exclusive interview with WWD on Tuesday, Paco Rabanne’s vice president Vincent Thilloy shared some of the attributes that, for him, make Maurer the right woman for the job.
“She has a true vision of what Paco Rabanne’s [fashion voice] is and what sets the house aside from the pack in terms of design signatures. She brings a real freshness,” he said. “She has this sensual Latin side, but also this sense of rigor that is very Germanic, with a real architectural approach to construction — she is very Rabanne.”
Taking a baby steps approach to growing the business, focusing on quality production and distribution networks, the aim is to build a ready-to-wear line that has a strong design identity but is also wearable, he added. “The end goal is that it sells,” said Thilloy.
Aside from some knitwear produced in Italy, the brand’s entire collection, including accessories, is made in France.
Maurer has spent the past few months getting acquainted with the house’s archives, which she described as a “treasure trove.” She said she aims to “organically” channel house codes in a contemporary wardrobe, prioritizing femininity, sensuality and comfort.
The designer wants to develop more sensual takes on the house’s iconic materials, such as metal mesh.
“We started by thinking about wearability,” said Maurer. “Paco Rabanne has always had a hard time existing [outside of] its beautiful iconic dresses that were made out of metal or plastic, or other uncanny materials, so the main concern was really to start by rendering [looks] more feminine, fluid and warm.”
The aim is to appeal to real women while retaining an avant-garde spirit.
“We don’t want to say no to performance artists like Lady Gaga [who wore pieces from Arora’s first collection for the house] because obviously that is part of [the Paco Rabanne] universe, but that is not the only reason we are here,” she said. “Obviously, the Paco Rabanne woman likes to go out, she’s a woman of the world.…She is not necessarily going to come to Paco Rabanne to buy clothes for wearing to the office, but we also want to appeal to women who don’t necessarily want to be living sculptures.”
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast