PARIS, France — Of the new vanguard of young designers injecting fresh energy into Paris, Julien Dossena, who has been at the creative helm of Paco Rabanne for more than two years now, is probably the shiest. He's not trying to turn himself into a social media-friendly persona. His Instagram is almost completely devoid of selfies and glamorous party pictures.Perhaps this is why Dossena — probably the most talented of Paris' new generation — approaches fashion design rather matter-of-factly.
The collection Dossena presented today to a star-studded audience in the stark white spaces of the Musee d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris — context is crucial, remember — was his most mature and accomplished to date: a dry, dynamic merging of futuristic shapes, mannish tailoring, organic materials, Rabanne's very own metal — in flame red — and brilliant nods to primitivism à la Space Odyssey.
Models walked faster than fast in their flat shoes and chunky loafers, looking like a troop of metropolitan cadets. The show was over in a second, but there was a lot going on. In this way, Dossena aligned himself with his contemporaries, opting for a wild pell mell of references: sometimes so far-fetched as to look haphazard. Where others go for chaos, however, he seeks out clarity. Dossena has that quintessentially French, Cartesian lucidity which in the long run is a winning asset.
But he is also, like his contemporaries, a sampler. Echoes of Helmut Lang were palpable throughout the show — the shades of white, the silver hoods, the shear dresses. Yet, Dossena never goes for replicas. Lang's modernist vernacular is, for him, a sort of alphabet: the repertoire of building blocks with which he constructs a fiercely original vision.
In a matter of seasons, he has indeed revitalised Paco Rabanne. Futurism has never looked so real and so tempting.