Bouchra Jarrar personifies her fashion house — compact and intense. Proud to be showing her 10th couture collection as an independent designer, she continues to strengthen her craft, untying ribbon-bound photo albums during a preview to show the looms used to hand-weave her metal-flecked tweeds. They were devised with what Jarrar described as “mathematical” precision to approximate the look of sunlight hitting water.
The effect was dazzling on the designer’s modernist tailoring, toughened with leather and with off-kilter zippers on the Perfecto jacket, her fetish garment — this time stretched into T-shirt dresses scintillating with dense crystal embroideries, or stripped away into barely there vests scooped out to expose the curve of the back.
Couture is undergoing something of a youthquake, and Jarrar is doing her part to project the genre into modern times and daily life. She injected elements of sport, and it’s legitimate territory for a woman who jogs four times a week — for one hour, nonstop — despite her smoking habit. Cue athletic stripes on the sides of languid satin pants the color of molten tin, and on the sleeves of Jarrar’s version of a couture T-shirt that melded those bespoke tweeds with rich leather. “I want to show that couture is something approachable,” she said.
Stripes also figured on the collars and sleeves of polo dresses in layers of pleated and free-flowing panther-printed chiffon. These caught the breeze as models whisked through the cloister of the Lycée Henri-IV, one of Paris’ most prestigious secondary schools.
The picturesque venue, the soothing aqua colors, the voice-over by Marguerite Duras and Jarrar’s cool-chic clothes added up to a potent and personal couture moment.