For those on the outside of fashion, it may seem like the only thing’s designers do is make clothes, and they and the people around them live glamorous lives. And while it’s true that designers make clothes, and they are a part of some really cool moments in time, their work is hard and deep. Fashion is influenced by the world around us. What happens politically, socially, and societally affects styles. French Haute Couture designer Julien Fournié’s AW22-23 collection was just this. It’s a reaction to all the things that have happened the past couple of years from the pandemic and from social issues.
For Fournié to be able to express all the emotions he has been feeling in all this time was both easy and a feat, all the while showing a positive way for the future. The frills of fashion were not the forefront but were there, as he calls it “the foolishness of fashion trends”- refinement, cut, and beauty” were tools to send a message. That message is one of being able to transform the negative into positive change.
“For two years, we have explored new means of expression through original films,” said Fournié in house notes. “But nothing can replace the physical presentation in front of a chosen audience- to experience the same emotions together. Seeing our models again on the runway is essential, especially for Haute Couture. The matter, particularly in this field, does not go without the substance: that of a personal story told to who can read appearances, that of a resolute cut aimed at highlighting the rough edges that make up a person.”
It’s a collection that though it’s steeped in pain and frustration, it awes. The looks on the face of the audience was one of captivation and awe. Themed “light in the middle of nothingness,” just as a jellyfish and Manta Rays are light in the middle of the dark ocean. Fournié invites us to find the light in the dark. And fitting it was to unveil the collection under the Alexandre III Bridge, at the nightclub Le Bridge.
These sea creatures, Manta Rays symbolize grace. A futuristic gown is inspired by the shape of this sea creature and inlaid in silk organza. This creature is also seen on hemlines of some of the jackets. By Fournié creating these one-of-a-kind silhouettes, it creates looks that are unique yet femininely strong in detailing, in ways that are not the norm.
The jellyfish represents the dread of coming into contact with one, and the fascination of seeing their beauty. So, Fournié dived into the umbrella anatomy and tentacles as an embellishing touch to looks. And the tentacles represent people and their perceptions, as well as a way to exchange with neighbors who are different from you, in an ocean of “borderless circulation.”
Fournié’s use of electric colors, of pairing wine with blue and topping it with shimmer in a one-piece body suit, and pink with gold in a mermaid-style gown evokes Julien Founié glamour. Metallic colored thread is weaved, making molds into 3D silk jersey fit to the body perfectly. Jersey fabric allows for easier movement.
This was Fournié’s first show in over two years and it was a hard and emotional one for him. Expressing how he has felt in global turmoil has produced a collection that’s carefully crafted and stunning.