Faced with the challenge of how to top his last show, which featured a performance by French ballet dancer and choreographer Marie-Agnès Gillot, Rabih Kayrouz, in this charming presentation in his Paris atelier space, did a 180, recruiting “real” girls — as in friends, local students and the like — to model his creations as if they were guests turning up to an intimate gathering at his house.
The hospitable Kayrouz zipped back and forth between the drinks bar and the models as they wove through the space, serving them Champagne in vintage crystal glasses. (Only in Paris, land of “La Vie en Rose,” do you get models sipping bubbles on the runway.) It was a fun, if a little goofy, improvisation.
Were this really a party (and it did turn into one at the end of the show, with the designer hollering, ‘Stay for drinks!’), there would be some serious dress envy. The creations followed the same line of thought — “basic colors, forms and volumes, and plays on layering, with this idea of combining notes to create a symphony.” But each piece had its individual charm. New spins on the designer’s knotted pieces were ever lovely, especially the romantic powder-pink cotton dress with cloudy volumes gathered in knots at the shoulder. In the mix were easy-chic, striped caftan dresses, oversize cashmere coats and great tailored pieces like super-modern double-breasted velvet blazers.
The colors were great, especially the flared corduroy jackets dyed a deep peacock blue and a floor-sweeping coat in strips of gleaming emerald velvet, the latter worn over high-waist, voluminous, black-and-white striped silk pants.
A cashmere felt cape painted with thick gold-leaf stripes nodded to a new concept the designer plans to present in March, dubbed “Geste Libre” (“liberal gestures”). “I love gold, I’m not afraid of gold, it’s not bling for me. It’s as noble as cashmere, it’s a mineral,” said Kayrouz, who also plans to launch a “couture” jewelry collection in March.