The heavy ambiance of the past year, be it the pandemic or the trials of the 2015 Paris attacks, led Louis-Gabriel Nouchi to Franz Kafka’s absurdist novel “The Trial” and Orson Welles’ 1962 version filmed in the train station that is now the Musée d’Orsay.
This joyless universe translated into a palette of cold neutrals, distressed textures and oversize shapes that swamped the body. Thick, felted wool knits nodded to the muted ambiance of faceless administrations, while the unrelenting light filtering in through shutters figured as printed stripes that slashed across a boxy overshirt, or vanished halfway down the body.
The designer revisited previously used details, such as snap closures on a double-breasted jacket, or tabs to attach his new range of small leather goods. Pieces upcycled from past collections were grouped under the “Relecture” (re-reading, in English) moniker, and included jeans with reworked washes. Elsewhere, violence was implied through fabric modifications like ripped ribbed cuffs, laddered knits and slashed seams.
As a show of support to artistic professions impacted by pandemic-related closures, Nouchi asked dancers from Paris’ ballet corps and choreographer Sohrâb Chitan to bring to life his first, albeit virtual, on-schedule show. Coming from a designer whose main inspiration is literary underdogs fighting against merciless systems, each action felt like a reminder that revolution comes from incremental small moves, rather than grand gestures.