For spring, Isabel Marant went full throttle, raising her middle finger at the surrounding harbingers of doom with a disco-charged lineup that lit up the Palais Royal in flashes of fuchsia and gleaming silver pastels. Models took to the sprawling runway stage in looks that were fierce and skimpy — sequined bodices, studded leather jackets, acid-washed HotPants and shimmery Windbreakers. Show notes referenced Eighties icons Debbie Harry and Kim Wilde, but it also felt a bit like an update of “Dirty Dancing.”
Adding softer touches of femininity amid the bare midriffs and naked legs were flowing dresses, pouffy sleeves that felt extra girly — but in a cool way, Marant style, abstract floral prints and graffiti hearts.
“A bit more romance, yes, but worn with rock ‘n’ roll style,” said Marant, when a long, flowing prairie dress was pointed out on the lineup board backstage before the show. “You’ll see,” she added, with a glint in her eye.
Marant was out to amp up the energy to convey some positivity and get away from all the “end of the world” business — and mark the beginning of a new world, she suggested. So the label teamed with contemporary French dance collective (La)Horde.
“I love their work — it’s very contemporary and bit disconcerting,” she remarked.
Dancers swarmed the wide runway stage, sprinting under a backdrop of rowed columns at different speeds, chaotically, or moving in packs with the models. One formation had them in pairs, moving around each other, and throwing themselves into a fleeting embrace — a poignant reminder of a familiar gesture that has become foreign.
Given the party-like, theme, one wondered if Marant had been able to let loose recently. She said no.
“I miss it, but we’re trying to do as we’re supposed to — I wanted to take advantage of this moment to bring some joy and happiness,“ she said. A reasonable proposition, in normal times, but a fresh warning of rising COVID-19 cases from France’s health minister just hours before the show illustrated that nothing is risk free.