With “Dancing Diaries,” Patou’s artistic director Guillaume Henry was at once sending the weekend off with a bang and kicking off a week of couture presentations in Paris with a zesty show full of leg-baring party looks.
“This is not a manifesto collection; it’s just a joyful collection that wants, urgently, lightness,” he said. “We know [things] are going badly but I don’t want to highlight this. As an artisan of fashion, I wanted to express something that isn’t necessarily the experience we are living outside but on the contrary, offer something that makes people smile.”
The mood in Paris on Sunday afternoon was certainly subdued, in the wake of the police killing of a teenager that has spawned nightly rioting, looting and violence that resulted in the cancellation of Celine’s spring 2024 men’s show due to be held on Sunday night.
Backstage, the designer said he’d wanted to express “who the Patou woman is in the evening and how she expresses the fantasy and love of clothing, with the codes of the brand – joy, gaiety, enthusiasm.”
Calling the show a “safe space where everyone is invited,” he imagined a gang of friends meeting for one last weekend get together before the work week, with an added nod to founder Jean Patou, who’d put on Sunday evening shows in the ‘20s that would more often than not turn into parties.
Cue a lineup of minidresses, short skirts and blowsy crop tops, knit separates and smartly tailored outfits in a color palette that ranged from black and white to peach and Pepto-Bismol pink.
Cut high on the leg “because it’s fashion for dancing,” according to Henry, hems had ruffles galore, since he didn’t want to impose on the Patou girl to know how to dance. “The dress will do it for her,” he said with glee, showing off a few moves himself.
Rhinestones, the season’s novelty, came in the shape of geometric borders that jazzed up a strappy little black dress, a prim and proper coat or a combo of a brassiere top and tailored slacks.
Topping off a lively display that highlighted Henry’s nous for the commercially attractive, there were accessories aplenty, from XXL scrunchies and a clutch-sized version of its Le Patou bag, to giant hoop earrings and golden headbands that had Henry saying there was “nothing better than a glimmer of gold because who isn’t attracted by what shines.”