Zadig & Voltaire lit up Poush, an art exhibition space in the Paris suburbs, for its latest runway show.
Guests made the trek to the gallery on the outskirts, where the contemporary brand erected a fountain center stage for a fashion show and party to showcase its fall collection, under the creative direction of Cecilia Bönström.
It was a centerpiece that guest Ed Westwick called “pretty spectacular” as it went up in flames.
The theme was “freedom,” Bönström said backstage after the show, but it also took a match to last season’s softer boho chic with a moto-infused collection.
Bönström always aims for a rock ‘n’ roll edge, and this season the Swedish designer toughed up with racing motifs. She was inspired by photos of vintage car seats and racing suits and brought in those references with cherry red and lots of leather. That bright pop of color dotted a mostly monochrome collection, in a body-hugging turtleneck dress and a Grecian mini.
Bönström’s take on the moto suit was made with a more casual, feminine flair, resulting in drapey leather trousers and slouchy leather jackets both with color-blocked design in petrol blue and in classic black. Some of the tougher looks were paired with open-toed sandals, while delicate dresses topped stomper boots as a study in contrast.
Bönström also revisited the oversize boyfriend T-shirt as a leather shift, and elsewhere experimented with textiles in crinkled leather, recycled cashmere on a honeycomb singlet — another nod to vintage bucket seats — and used 100 percent merino wool on knits.
Throughout the show male and female models wore the same looks in succession, emphasizing the brand’s approach to gender-fluid basics. The brand also debuted a new bag called “Moon Rock” in a half-moon shape as a nod to a night out.
The fountain display also mired the show in controversy, as artist Julian Charrière called out the brand for copying his work just hours before the show. In a post on Instagram and in a statement sent to journalists, Charrière pointed out the brand’s pre-show visuals bore a striking similarity to his 2019 work “And Beneath It All Flows Liquid Fire.”
He added that he had not been contacted by the brand for use of the artwork.
In a statement released to WWD, the brand denied any similarity. “Zadig & Voltaire’s ‘fire fountain’ is an independent creation of the brand for its fall 2023 show. Inspired by sound and pyrotechnics effects in French gardens, La Concorde fountains in Paris, generations of artists, the ‘fire fountain’ was conceptualized by Zadig & Voltaire. Symbolizing the inner burning freedom within us all, ‘fire fountain’ showcases the blazing, bold and unfettered confidence of the Zadig & Voltaire believer,” the company said.
The front row was filled with Westwick, Sky Ferreira, Alexa Chung, Luna Blaise and plenty of on-trend “nepo babies” including Carmen Kassovitz, Ella Richards and Maddie Jean Waterhouse, all of whom have big social media followings.
Former “Gossip Girl” star Westwick reacted to the news that the reboot has been canceled after two seasons. “I don’t know if I’m sad, but a little bit surprised,” he said. “But some things don’t catch fire. There’s a lot of trying to bring bring back old things. It happens quite a lot in Hollywood and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.”
Westwick has been concentrating on his newly formed band For You. The group released its first single “Tailspin” Jan. 23 and are working on an album he hopes to tour with later this year. “I’m a performer, that’s what I do, so gotta keep performing. Keeps the demons away,” he joked.
The fire, too, remained contained before guests made their way back out into the chilly winter night.