Music and dance have always gone hand-in-hand at Maison Rabih Kayrouz‘s couture showcases. Literally, Kayrouz has cast professional dancers, like Marie Agnes Gillot, to pirouette down his runway and has had French musician Christophe serenade guests at the piano with Les Mots Bleus. Therefore, when a model ascended the uneven “building block” runway at his Saint-Germain atelier to the sounds of silence, taking one careful step after another in socked feet, guests sat up and took notice.
Those unfamiliar with the ongoing Lebanese revolution will perhaps try and equate the paired-back show with some hip sustainable manifesto. With his business split between Lebanon and France, the reality is that the couturier probably had no choice but to do away with accouterments—and sometimes even the luxury of finished clothes. Many of the looks featured showcased construction. As conceptual as they appeared—bare bones of dresses, held together with grosgrain ribbons and band, smocks, and the like—it is unlikely they will be worn outside the atelier. Perhaps the couturier was aiming to shine the light on the petites mains rather than himself this season. The craftspeople are revealed, the many layers of human talent necessary to create a dress, one that shines, like the gold numbers with oversized “button” paillettes featured below.
Today, in Lebanon, from where Kayrouz hails, accounts are frozen with entrepreneurs left unable to pay their employees. Many have suddenly found themselves unable to buy food. This is not a time for Kayrouz to coat his indisputable talent with high shine lacquer but rather rip it open to reveal its guts. Perhaps to some, the working man’s cotton, blood-red-colored socks on the feet of models looked silly. To this critic, they represented Lebanese people’s unerring ability to keep moving forward, and now, together. No matter the cost.