What Elbaz declared he was working on here was “deconstructed classicism.” In the exploded tuxedo silhouettes, the notion of the smoking collided with the kimono and was tied off with a bow on an obi belt. Yet the designer wasn’t using Japonisme as surface style, but more as a contemporary way of looking at the classical approach to dress. It could be likened to the way that the techniques of Japanese prints permeated French art of the late-nineteenth century—as abstract structural solution rather than simple decoration. Asymmetry prevailed; experimentation and the focus on “the square” meant that some linear dresses were held together with mere origami bows, fastened at one side and revealing flashes of flesh. And yet a certain ease in this collection ensured there was also room for a black swimming costume. Worn simply with black trousers, it was one of the sexiest looks.
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