Nature vs. society. Masculine vs. feminine. Them vs. us. "Futurism vs History," as stated in the poem written by Jean-Charles de Castebajac for his spring/summer 2013 collection. The world we live in is worrisome to him, creator of a dark anxiety. As he sees it, we are slowly sliding towards a securitarian hell, our every move monitored and dissected by CC TV.
Frantic BBMs were exchanged between, inside, and out hinting that French singer Julien Peretta and music mogul Kanye West were in attendance, but the show wasn't on the sidelines.
The back of the Oratoire du Louvre had been colonized by lush vegetation, including clusters of Venus flytraps, to symbolize the final victory of the Earth's most resilient creatures over the civilizations that damaged them.
The track was a remix of animal sounds and electro beats, mixed live. His first print, "Architecture under imprisoning plant" as Nature's revenge, an ugly concrete building overrun by vivid green leaves that grew to create an abstraction in the same color scheme as the initial print.
In the foliage, a few giant diamond perspex rings glimmered on the hands of models, a banana leaf shoe curled around the foot, continuing Castelbajac's creation of show shoes.
On plastic-looking outerwear, silver building appliques climbed.
In an MC Escher-esque transformation, a palm tree grows from a forest of chimney pipes.
Oil slick stovepipe trousers stick to legs like a petrol spill on birds. An alligator is splayed across a trench, before the prints lighten into barely there embroidery on pure white motorcycle suits.
The classics of the French wardrobe are explored. More than ever, he experiments with materials, melding the antique ways with the modern. His aquatic camouflage serves to structure garments.
With the DJ Azulejos embroidery, he worked with a French atelier specialized in tapestry, to depict in a naïve scenery of picking a (forbidden?) fruit from a tree with a city in the background.
With Castelbajac, it is never just about the clothes. JCDC is a visual artist whose medium is cloth, and nowadays, as he explained post-show, he wanted to explore things he didn't do before. Painting liberated him, and finally he feels at ease, in this century where transversality is accepted. His spring/summer 2013 woman likes risks but also feels the problems of our times- her sensitivity makes her flawed but real.
Asked about his inspiration for the collection, he replied that this was his vision of ecology in these dystopian times, where the conflict between urbanity and nature is coming to a head. "I wanted to show nature winning." To conclude, he smiled and leaned forward to say, "Everything is but an accident, a harmonious accident."
- Lily Templeton