The tubular golden structures of contemporary artist Aaron Young, crashed barriers, crunched and compressed then dipped in 24-carat gold, were not just an eye-catching background to Julien David’s collection, it was also a perfect metaphor for the French-born, Tokyo-based designer’s work: pick it off the streets and turn it into something utterly luxurious – if not entirely obviously so.
“Control and release,” David said backstage after the show as he fingered swatches of material hung up next to the Polaroids of his models. No need to look for a narrative this season, it was all about the material, as the designer wanted to experiment more with fabrics he had developed previously. Here, the thick wool threads of a shaggy pile was used almost everywhere: in the flesh, but also lending its enmeshed imprints to silks, providing the pattern for an intarsia – with elastic thread to push out bean-like shapes – embossed on leather or thinned out in smaller gauges.
Streetwear informed the collection, but apart from a couple of obvious enough stadium jackets, one had to be looking for the mesh jersey to see it in a mid-calf dress with hanging looped threads; likewise, a sweater made of silk hung almost too prettily to be spotted. “Taking those shapes and diverting them is at the heart of what I do. It’s very refined and chic, the materials are opulent but it’s on shapes that are easy and loose.” For the most part, it felt fresh and this elegant subversion will continue to make his customer excited. As for the wider idea he developed, we always knew true change came from the street.
Watch the show!