It was hammam heaven at the Maison Rabih Kayrouz show on Sunday afternoon. Where even before the first languid and luxurious look emerged on the catwalk the designer had already put the audience in the mood by creating an intimate steam room setting through a simple play on warm lighting and a bit of smoke.
But that is how Kayrouz rolls. It’s all about the ease, the repose, the perfect simplicity of style. After all, this is a designer who for years preferred to show his collection on models walking the catwalk in their bare feet to bring the designs even more down to earth.
“It’s an attitude of legerity and liberty,” explained the designer backstage as he showed off a dress inspired by the modest beauty of a towel wrapped about the body. He even called his collection Barbès-Batroun in reference to both a multicultural melting spot in Paris where visiting a hammam is a cultural must and a summer village in the designer’s native Lebanon where dressing with the idea of being able to quickly undress is the sartorial priority.
So strong was Kayrouz’s desire to express this elegant nonchalance on the catwalk that he decided to go ahead and show it during a winter season. But no matter, his nubby bathrobe coats, shimmering sarongs and draped towel like cashmere dresses will work year round.
Harder to picture working as effortlessly were some skirt short hybrid pieces that opened at the center when the models moved. They were more cumbersome then chic. And a floral motif quilted textile, maybe designed to mimic the tiles in a hammam sauna, had a stiffness that didn’t quite dovetail with the overall laid back luxe look of the show.
It would have been nice to see a bit more of the designer’s cornerstone knitwear pieces in the collection. Perhaps next season - insha’Allah.
Watch the show!