Paris. The city of light, host of one of the world’s greatest wonders, and a place full of love, history and opulence. For every minute of the day, the city shines differently. Whether that’s over the peaks of buildings in the morning, through the cracks of stained glass in midday, or the Eiffel tower at night. However, last night at 7 pm, Off-White stole all of the city’s shine and focused it on to a massive cube.
Ib Kamara’s first show as Off-White’s Art and Image Director was bound to be filled with mixed emotions. Titled “CELEBRATION,” we watched as Kamara brought his visions to life while paying homage to the legacy Virgil Abloh had previously built, as well as honouring the late creative on the eve of his birthday.
The night began when attendees walked into a vast open space which had a large cube planted in the centre of it. Lights lowered, and a projection began rotating around the cube. On the cube was a serene composition of dancers performing a routine around doors leading to the unknown.
Those same dancers would appear throughout the show, dressed in royal blue costumes, exuding energy through dance before resting in place. Still like water. As the show commenced, we were treated to music from Parisian duo TSHEGUE, who performed live at the top of the cube and injected their punk energy and afrobeats into the high-energy show.
Oddly enough, the high energy continued out of the venue as well. Kids were heard screaming outside as they attempted to scale vans for a better vantage point. Makes sense anyway when you have the likes of Naomi Campbell, Yasin Bey, Evan Mock, Rickey Thompson and Erykah Badu walking the show’s blue carpet.
Walking around the cube was a selection of models who were all rookies to Off-White. A total of 55 looks were strutted around the venue, each of which had a focus on human anatomy and hydrangeas. The show’s opening look was a motorcycle jacket and mini-skirt, which was cut at the midriff, revealing a lace bodysuit. Following the look was a selection of anatomy-based designs featuring exposed skeletal designs and X-rayed depictions of muscularity.
When viewing the menswear looks, they appeared to be far more commercial and ready-to-wear than the womenswear on first inspection. Oversized, boxy suit jackets were paired with leather trousers and square-toed boots, blending high-fashion and accessible styling – perhaps in homage to Virgil’s desire to allow everyone to enjoy his work.
Look 35 from the show was a clear standout, featuring a royal blue knit turtleneck accented by white ribbing. In the womenswear, we were treated to a plethora of dresses tailored to cut off just below the model’s chins. Full length lace-embroidered dresses and delicately placed lilypad pedals on nipples and ears grounded these offerings in traditional femininity, whilst their futuristic allusions stopped it shifting entirely into one realm.
A large theme in womenswear was an oval cutout over the models’ stomachs, forming a key motif of the collection. We saw this design choice utilised in various and sometimes dissociated ways. In one look, we see a grandiose, macro-designed dress, while in others, we find the cutout in leather suits.
The show, as a whole, was a treat to watch. Each look intrigued me as I could associate designs or colour palettes with cultural references throughout my life. However, I think I missed a bit more of the Abloh spirit. In the past, we’ve seen streetwear identifying looks with a borderline utilitarian feel.But I guess change is good. And let’s be honest, we’re not going to find a Virgil replacement anytime soon. Or ever, for that matter.
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