Jean-Charles De Castelbajac Ready To Wear Spring Summer 2014 Paris

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Jean-Charles De Castelbajac Ready To Wear Spring Summer 2014 Paris

An artist of cloth and color, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac strives to create not only garments but the cross-section of an entire universe, with the entire richness of the Arts. The live soundtrack featured Castelbajac declaiming “we are journalists, we are photographers, we are le mode” [sic].  Its appreciable trippy club beat is rumored to be released as a single shortly, and in his transversal world view, this feels like a natural step.

Love is all, for the designer. Anyone who follows him on social media is regularly treated to his illustrations, poetic sketches depicting those dear to him. On nails, letters spelled out words dear to the designer. “Amour” and “Music” were the more expected ones, and rumor has it, there were some cheekier ones. On faces, gold encrusted eyebrows echoed the metal of necklaces and laminated silks, no doubt a roundabout reference to having a heart of gold.

Not as straightforwardly whimsical as previous collections, Summer 14 could be read as a love letter to the very industry assembled at his show, where love is very much a currency. For which editor has not contributed to a budding magazine? Which make-up artist has not done pro-bono work? Who has not put time and effort without financial retribution?

In between some arty silhouettes, the clothes explored different facets of JCDC’s creative mores, using his favored colors to create color blocking on a draped bodice with pleated skirt.  An ensemble on printed silk, mimicking hemp – a reference to the canvas used for cutting fabric, as well as painter’s surface? – recalled the iconic “little black jacket” suit. Linen and satin fused with rubber on a demure dress. But apart from these two occurrences bookending the show, there were so few colors, as if the designer were returning to the flat surfaces from which all these designs originated.

In the meantime, on the back wall, a projection showed the designer painting what turned out to be the Painted Woman finale, bringing this poetic show full circle.

For once, JCDC seemed to be falling in step with the overall art moment that the Parisian runways are having, and it felt all the more right.