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To say there’s a noise around Paco Rabanne is just one of those figures of speech, but on the runway for fall we all literally heard it coming. The swishing, clinking, and clattering of metallic chainmail, plastic chandelier drops, and multi-layers of reflective feathers was partly from the long, spectacularly photogenic evening dresses Julien Dossena sent out—and partly from the mini-dresses designed by Paco Rabanne himself. In that moment—the finale tribute to the late designer—you suddenly realized just what an extra-outrageous impact it must have had when Francoise Hardy, Amanda Lear, and all of his models were shaking up staid old haute couture in those super-modern dresses in late 1960s Paris. Not just seen, but very much heard.

The post-pandemic return of Paco Rabanne to the ready-to-wear shows coincided with the recent passing of the founder, aged 88, on February 3rd. Although Dossena never met him (the company having been sold to Puig many years ago) he’d already thought about how to honor him—and not simply by showing his original work. The idea Dossena hit on was to celebrate Rabanne’s connection with Salvador Dali—two Spaniards who kicked up a lot of sensational fun together with perfomance and film in the late ’60s and early ’70s. “They were really dear friends,” said Dossena. He contacted the Gala-Dali Foundation, and was granted permission to use five of the artist’s arch-Surrealist paintings and a couple of stonking great pieces of Dali’s jewelry—a big gold bleeding heart dripping with ruby stones, and a metal ‘barbed wire’ necklace and belt.

His research landed conceptually as a collection he named “Chasing Dreams”—a kind of trip into the subconscious where fabrics became fuzzy and knitwear went a bit crazy, glittering up ordinary-seeming coats, sweaters, and trousers. This was just the prelude to a large collection of long red-carpet dresses. He treated the Dali paintings “as if we were slashing into the canvases,” cleverly dissecting bodices and re-linking them with metal grommets.

From there, it was full-on into 14 varieties of Dossena’s slinky, multi-componented options for turning heads—and in many cases, loudly announcing the arrival of wearers even before they step into view.