How many clothing brands can say they have snagged a spot in the dictionary? It happened to K-Way, very much to the surprise of its founder Léon-Claude Duhamel, who designed the packable rain jackets set to become a signature of a generation in the ’80s.
For its fall show, the brand transformed parent company BasicNet’s headquarters in Milan into Café de la Paix, replete with forest green curtains and marble tables edged in golden hardware. As the story goes, Duhamel had the idea for the jackets while sitting at the chic Parisian hot spot in 1965, and looking at passersby as the pouring rain dampened their city strolls.
After guests were served Champagne and sweets, loud music commenced, models strutted down the runway and the chic French fantasy suddenly morphed, with the brand displaying its most inventive and forward-looking takes on nylon, puffer jackets and the outdoorsy outerwear for which it is known.
There were puffer-on-puffer ensembles, often cumbersome; boxy shorts; quilted capes, and nylon gaiters, sometimes covered in faux fur, all done in tonal orange, navy and green. Hooded or cocooning, pleated like foldable lamps or shiny like rubber gloves, paired with credible long johns or unlikely padded short shorts, they showed the versatility of the K-Way hero product, which was also done in eco-minded versions, including Amiable recycled nylon.
The show closed on a highly experimental piece in which multiple rain jackets were stitched together to create a colorful gown. Was it a nod to eco-artist Michelangelo Pistoletto’s “Venere degli Stracci”?
Come Paris Fashion Week, K-Way will take over the actual Café de la Paix on Paris’ Place de l’Opéra for a celebratory event. Let’s hope it rains and that closing look comes in handy.