The first thumping backbeat note of the song "Gangsta's Paradise" by Coolio jolted the audience to attention at the Maison Rabih Kayrouz show on Sunday afternoon. This, ladies and gentlemen, is not the Kayrouz you thought you knew.
"She is having fun. She is getting out," said the designer as he put the finishing touches to his collection. "I wanted this kind of freedom where my girls are dressed normally, not like they are wearing a costume, but still with a sense of liberty," he added.
Kayrouz too was looking liberated by this collection, breaking as it did with the languid sophistication of his sartorial past. Here he boldly explored prints with bright orange blooms covering glossy silk dresses or knit twin sets. He showed mash up mixes of lace and knitwear on a single ensemble. And above all he took up the challenge of asymmetry.
Waistlines of skirts and pants spilled over with panels of chiffon, looking like long deflated peplums. Skirts came cut so that the hemlines never lined up and dresses split apart at unexpected placed along the grid outlines of prints.
There were a few floaty light summer coats and one billowing dress that looked like the Kayrouz of old. And they were greeted with a smile like old friends by the audience. Perhaps, after getting to know them better, some of the designer's more daring offerings will also make it into the closets of his devoted clientele.