Up-and-comer Julien David pulled in a small but influential crowd for his runway debut today. The designer, who's spent time working for Narciso Rodriguez and Ralph Lauren, began his own label of neoclassical printed-silk twill scarves in 2008. Last season was his first ready-to-wear: a capsule collection he describes as street wear—trapeze-shape anoraks, baggy shorts—in high-end fabrics. It also had an edgy undercurrent via Tokyo, where David has been living for the past five-some years.
Of course, the burning question here is whether David merits the spotlight of a Parisian runway. The short answer: He does. Fall skewed more elegant than Spring, but he was clearly still kicking around the idea of volume in a coat—a piece that was easily the heart of this collection. David makes his beautifully in a drop-waisted and gently flared silhouette cut out of a luxuriously hefty tweed— made special for him in Japan. He then gives them structure through thick exposed seams and refined internal ones.
The overall look ran to the cool and boyish, underlined by flat black leather boots with colored soles. David hasn't fully abandoned his scarf-y roots. There were dresses cut to look like two square scarves sewn together, and a wild cartoony print of detritus like wire, foam, and chains still followed the classic frame-decoration-and-centerpiece scheme.
Each model's face was covered with an organza mask on which her face was pixelated—a witty visual trick that nodded to David's fellow Tokyo-ites Rei and Junya. Though, unlike them, he gave an explanation. "I wanted to show a different perception of what a chic lady is," he said. "We did this for transformation and confusion."