Inspirations, Focus


Two days ago, Walter Von Beirendonck declared: "The world is exploding and I'm dreaming." Playing on sidereal echoes, Rei Kawakubo takes the bold step of exploring the abyss, the stars and acid colours. To the tune of Parade, by Jean Cocteau and soundtracked by Erik Satie, she staged her characters as if they have emerged from the backstage of a carnival theatre, where every appearance mirrors the acrobats, the American manager, and the Chinese illusionist of the show that caused a scandal in 1917.  Here, his dandies in jewelled bonnets (reminiscent of her sneakers on sale at Dover Street Market), roam the pavement in night-and-day acrobat mode. With giant collars, flannel folded and tucked into lateral cannelloni, deconstructions and alveoli, the designer said backstage that she was "looking for the light."


In 1917, the aim was to oppose the violence of the world with poetry. In the programme written for Diaghilev - the master of the Russian Ballets - Guillaume Apollinaire described the show as "sur-realist". The tone is set, and the beat pulses to the rhythm of the glittering frills, the orange lamé checks and polka dots, and then the shocking pink that once again propels us into a whole other world, that of Elsa Schiaparelli's Le Cirque collection, presented in February 1938.  It's a beautiful homage in which the designer doesn't lose a shred of her personality. As if peeled, scraps of fabric sprout from the costumes, while others, in a trompe l'œil game, appear re-covered in black tulle; the loose, billowy shirts contrast with the graphic silhouettes, the heart of a masterfully executed chessboard.