On a quiet street tucked away in the 18th arrondissement, a nondescript building pulsed with hip-hop music and attracted a crowd of dressed-up locals. Stéphane Ashpool was presenting “Craft Studio,” his fall 2019 collection for Pigalle Paris, in his brand new creative hub, a hybrid between a design workshop, a recording studio and a party space.
The collection was divided in three chapters, housed in different parts of the space. On the lower level of the main room, past a bar serving bespoke cocktails with a dash of blue coloring, models slouched under a “Hotel Pigalle” sign wearing luxe loungewear and embroidered bathrobes in powder tones. To their right was a more energetic crowd: Ashpool’s basketball team — the designer coaches a junior team on the court he opened in the 9th arrondissement — showcased the collection’s streetwear looks. Varsity jackets bore the names of the designer’s different crews, like “POK” for his events company Pain O Chokolat, or “BOP” for “Brothers of Pigalle.” Accessories came in the form of bucket hats and silver fanny packs, as well as chunky Nike trainers in fetching pastel hues.
The silhouettes were shinier than your average streetwear offering: There were liquid-looking vinyl jackets, a quilted metallic vest and iridescent panels on sleek tracksuit pants.
A room at the back hosted a fashion performance featuring both models and professional dancers directed by Ashpool. “My basis for the performance was fabric,” explained the designer, who popped on and off stage to add a piece of aquamarine fabric to a jacket or peel off a layer of clothing from a model’s costume. “I explore and move forward starting with fabric.” The intimate performance, set on a gold leaf-painted backdrop that contrasted beautifully with the blue-green hues of the clothes, offered a rare moment of respite from the fast pace of fashion month.