Paco Rabanne: the Mods get modern

The front row review, just in from Paris

It was a time warp. Just off Paris' Place Concorde, a futuristic pod with Space Odyssey white carpets and mirrored seats for the audience was the venue for the Paco Rabanne AW13 show. We'd stepped back in time to a retro vision of the future as re-imagined by a designer who's very much rooted in the present. That designer is 30-year-old Lydia Maurer, whose second season at the house aimed to pluck the Mod girl out of the sixties and give her a wardrobe that works today.

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And chain mail, believe it or not, can work today. Rabanne’s trademark was revisited and refreshed: a long-sleeved tunic top was paired with a mini-skirt on the catwalk but will be worn with skinny black jeans by the cool girls of 2013. The little 60s shift dress was given the addition of the pointed collar so loved by hipsters the world over, and even that chainmail jumpsuit worn by Francoise Hardy in the 60s was made to look new with sheer seams and a handkerchief collar.

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‘I started from that image of Francoise Hardy standing bolt upright in that jumpsuit,’ recalled Maurer backstage, ‘and I thought what would a woman like that wear today? The rigour of the Mods in their approach to dressing - the relentless pursuit of a strong look - I really wanted to retain that and to make beautiful pieces, but to make each piece have the option of wearing it in a more easy, contemporary way.’

It’s hard to imagine chainmail being a quotidian wardrobe staple, but Maurer proposes a flippy metallic skirt worn with a sweater, or leather pleats topped off with a biker jacket. Add naturally dried hair, ankle boots and barely-there make-up and we’re almost able to look as cool as the Mods – but without looking like we tried anything near as hard.

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