Friday 28th February

| BY Claudia Croft

Paco Rabanne: Ready-to-wear AW20

Julien Dossena took Paco Rabanne’s signature chainmail right back to source. Not the hedonistic 1960s but to the medieval crusaders who wore it in battle. Showing in the vaulted crypt of the Conciergerie, he sent out chainmail-clad women wearing metal hoods and intricately constructed, hand-made silver metal link gowns. Evoking the warrior strength of Joan of Arc and the femininity of Jean Harlow, these extraordinary looks were made on the bias and moved like heavy silk, their hems jangling with silver beads. Alongside this couture level artistry he added monastic tailored coats, ruff-necked choir gowns and white shirts with crisp ecclesiastical collars. This Christian iconography subtly melded with eastern influence (imagine what middle-eastern splendours those medieval crusaders encountered). Luscious fringed chainmail scarves were made into spectacular veiled, bias cut gowns. Modernity and history, strength and femininity and a mingling of ancient traditions: this show packed a punch. As Dossena took his bow, the crowd roared their appreciation. Bravo!

Photographs by Jason Lloyd-Evans.