To give Pre-Fall some context, Paco Rabanne’s Julien Dossena explained that he considered Resort his pre-collection warm-up. With that in mind, his latest undertaking was an exercise in elite athleticism (not to be confused with athleisure). This was Dossena’s fourth collection for Paco Rabanne, and his intention to reframe the label becomes clearer with each outing, especially as he inflects sportswear with soigné touches and de-emphasizes chain mail.
The lineup began with a hybrid top, part diamond-quilted leather, part tech knit. If the idea itself was sharp, the execution was sharper still. Next, Dossena produced a grouping of looks that loosely interpreted a gi, the traditional judo uniform: If this hadn’t been pointed out, you might not have guessed. But no matter, because the feel of the Japanese cotton, the flattering topstitching around the yolk of the straight-leg pants, and the clever split shirttail of a blouse all added up to detailing that, while distinctive, could be worn every day. Other endorphin-inducing themes included stripes energizing mod miniskirts and dresses, and patterned jacquard that jibed with equally vibrant windowpane corduroy (Dossena cited yé-yé, a term applied to French 1960s youthquake style). There were also fluid jersey dresses contoured with strategically placed sport zippers and inserts. Chain mail was all but stripped of its slinkiness when topped with ski cardigans, but Dossena played up his own shiny effect, connecting brass armature to eyelets as a decorative—and sometimes functional—touch.
Like the judo influence, the idea of accessibility wasn’t overtly noticeable, but it was a desired end goal. Between the wearable asymmetric ballerinas, the new 14#02 bags, which are spin-offs from the highly handcrafted 14#01, and the reworking of certain pieces to be more accessible, Dossena made sure that plenty of what he showed was commercially viable.
—Amy Verner, Style.com