It had been three years since Rabih Kayrouz had last put on a runway show, and for all his experience, it was a weighty moment. “I have the same stage fright as when I first started,” he admitted backstage.
The occasion had felt even more momentous by the fact that it had been 13 years since his inaugural show.
But none of that was transmitted in his spring show, where models strolled through a Parisian mansion, wandering over to a window to peer outside or coming back for the finale with glasses of Champagne in hand — one for her, one for a lucky guest.
“I imagine [the woman I design for] going home after a very beautiful evening — or a very beautiful day, full of love, of joy, of her expressed passion,” he explained after the show.
The pandemic had triggered the desire to have “clothes that cover up, that protect and that you can throw off when you get home,” leading to capes and sweeping windbreakers but also to the idea of being wrapped up in a jacket, bundled into a coat or draped in a dress.
All these were on offer, deceptively simple looking, impeccably turned out and intriguing in their construction. Take those draped dresses and coats: looking in the folds showed how they were structured to keep their shape always, but that didn’t dispel the charm of the garment.
The idea that “haute couture is not a style or a situation but a craft” that can be expressed in anything from a crimson high-neck column dress to a cashmere baklava is one that bears repeating — once more, with feeling.