This was his fourth runway show and Henri Alexandre is getting the hang of it.
“I feel like I know where I want to use texture, I feel like I know where I want to make a statement — there needs to be a balance,” he said, over a brief cigarette break before the show. Simplicity serves to offset some of the more radical motifs, he added.
Exhibit number one: colorful scenes imagined by Henry Darger, a mysterious recluse who gained posthumous fame. They were embroidered onto a luxurious, black suit coat, oversize and cut straight — a house signature — with crazy scenes of battles and crucified girls running across the bottom. These images also came on an elegant bomber jacket and a pale, shimmery-silver suit; the jacket double-breasted and the trousers straight and roomy.
He mentioned other references like Abstract Expressionism and “Art Brut,” a movement celebrating work by misfits, noting it resonates with what he described as the insanity of his mind.
But Alexandre is as much about method, and his wobbly, disheveled-haired models delivered a pointed and self-assured collection: both punk and premium — he uses high-end fabrics — and owning the angst.
Standouts included a sleek, dark cowhide coat, with patches of fur, including some lighter spots — influence from his own blonde-dyed hair, he said, lifting the cuff and delivering instructions about the accessories in the same breath. It was worn by a lanky model, shirtless, and paired with slim black jeans.
His friend Courtney Love had just flown in from Los Angeles — taking a break from memoir writing for a Paris fashion fix — and popped backstage to greet him before slipping into the front row, joining G-Eazy and Madison Beer.
In its seventh year, the label has grown from an initial DIY approach into more elevated quality, noted Alexandre. Leather and denim are sourced in the U.S. while shoes, shirting and suiting hail from Europe.
“We’re a lot more organized, I feel like,” he said. Why’s that?