LIFE OF PABLO: “I was born in color,” said designer Jean-Charles de Castelbajac upon arriving at the Picasso Museum for the opening cocktail of Paris Fashion Week Men’s on Tuesday, dressed in a striped T-shirt, blue shirt, pink pants and multicolored Nike trainers.
The new creative director for Benetton was one of the guests at the event held by the French couture federation and presided over by Séverine Merle, chief executive office of Celine and the new head of the Chambre Syndicale de la Mode Masculine, men’s fashion’s governing body, succeeding Sidney Toledano, ceo of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton Fashion Group.
“I strongly believe in the future of men’s wear, and also in the future of men’s wear in Paris,” said Merle during the opening speech, standing alongside Pascal Morand, executive president of the French couture federation, and Riccardo Bellini, ceo of Maison Margiela and vice president of the Chambre Syndicale de la Mode Masculine.
Sipping cocktails in the courtyard of the museum, guests reminisced about past encounters with the Spanish master’s work.
“The first Picasso I ever saw was ‘La Celestina,’ a painting of a one-eyed woman,” mused Castelbajac. “I must have been 12 or 13 years old, and it deeply shook me. My father told me that’s when you know you’ve encountered real beauty — when you’re shaken. It was a real life lesson.”
For designer Emily Adams Bode, fresh from the first Parisian show of her brand Bode, Picasso is a household name — literally.
“My fiancé’s favorite painting is Picasso’s ‘Bathing Women,’ so a friend of mine did a reproduction for us,” said the designer. “When I get back home it’ll be hanging in my living room. I have a very special relationship to Picasso: his use of color inspired me a lot for some of our corduroy pieces at Bode.”
Other designers remembered Picasso from art history lessons: Ludovic de Saint Sernin, who is gearing up for his first on-schedule catwalk show, and Victoria Feldman of label Victoria/Tomas both studied the painter in art school.
“For one project, I reproduced one of his paintings but covered it in yellow paint,” laughed Feldman, aware of the blasphemy.
Also present were Saif Bakir and Emma Hedlund of Cmmn Swdn, architect and decorator Matthias Kiss — who admitted to owning a Picasso at home, but a reproduction bought at the museum gift shop, Léonard Paris creative director Christine Phung and Delpozo designer Lutz Huelle.
“I remember the first time I came to this museum — it was for this very event two years ago,” said Huelle. “It was the first time I saw a whole Picasso exhibition and it completely overwhelmed me. You know, it’s quite something to see them all together at the same time. It’s absolutely incredible.”