These three designers will launch collections — two on their own and one for a venerable French house — during Paris Fashion Week. Here’s a preview.
Patrick Robinson for Paco Rabanne
Patrick Robinson is no metal worker. He’s a man of the cloth, so to speak. So don’t expect any clothes that could stick to a magnet when he shows his first collection for Paco Rabanne on March 5.
Not that there’s anything wrong with them.
“The brand has had a strong message with metal dresses. Those dresses [Rabanne] did in the Sixties are incredibly sexy and provocative. The customer has seen it and has taken it as a given, but it hasn’t stayed relevant,” the 38-year-old designer said. “The real soul of the brand is bigger than one dress. Why [Rabanne] showed that is more important. The question is, ‘How does that woman dress today?’ ”
Robinson’s answer? “Seductive, glamorous, sleek clothing, no matter what time of the day.”
Most recently the designer at Perry Ellis, where his Pretty Baby designs earned raves, Robinson nevertheless had a falling out with management and left after three seasons. That was the latest bump in a topsy-turvy fashion career. After training under Giorgio Armani in Milan, Robinson was thrust into the spotlight when he was plucked to head Anne Klein in 1995. Three seasons later, he was unceremoniously fired, which inspired him to launch a signature collection.
When Mario Grauso, head of Puig Group’s fashion division, invited Robinson to dinner and suggested the Rabanne slot, Robinson didn’t hesitate.
“There’s something more personal about this collection than anything I’ve ever done,” he said. “It’s closest to my heart.”
Robinson succeeds Rosemary Rodriguez, who had quietly built a wholesale following. But she worked in the shadow of Rabanne himself, who only relinquished his consulting role at the house last October.
In Robinson’s view, the brand harbors major potential, and he plans to use its heritage as a “cocktail, evening brand” to great advantage and expand that essence to all occasions. Ultimately, he also hopes to put his hands on Rabanne’s successful array of fragrances, noting that women’s scents are not as well developed as those for men.
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