Olivier Saillard’s third outing for Moda Povera was like a lesson in life drawing, held in the Amphithéâtre de Morphologie at the Beaux-Arts, with its anatomical statues, chalk-covered blackboards and rough wooden benches.
The staging encouraged his students to stare attentively at the designs to capture their technique, based on Madame Grès’ draping and described by Saillard in an opening “lecture” as “like a form of therapy.”
He changed his medium for fall, shifting from the jersey T-shirts of his first two collections to white men’s cotton shirts in an 8XL size — mainly shipped in from the U.S., offering 17 different manifestations, draped, pleated and manipulated in a variety of ways to create new forms.
Collars, cuffs and sleeves were reshaped, creating new design details — pleating formed a hint of a ruff-like form at the nape of the neck on several designs, while others were pulled into a V-shape and left open in front.
Whorls of pleats created vortexes, pulling the shirts into new shapes, some dress-like, others with backs like capes, all worn over thick black tights and stilettos or espadrilles on Saillard’s three models — Axelle Doué, a former fit model for Madame Grès; Zoé Guedard, Saillard’s assistant, and Ania Martchenko, a scenographer and interior designer.
The collection was clever and conceptually fascinating, even though its staging also felt a little like an anatomy lecture — extremely slow, given the size of the collection, although this certainly allowed the observer to take in the subtlety of the details.