If you say "sport soir" out loud, it sounds like "sportswear," non? This visual and phonetic elision was the stated message for Fall at JC de Castelbajac, but designer Jean-Charles insisted backstage that the collection also demonstrated a more personal story line: discipline. "I wanted to bring my imagination into a real focus," he said. He mentioned his mother and the blanket coats they made together decades ago, back when she had a clothing business. And those blanket coats appeared today—one in a micro-quilted jacquard covered in a "camoface" pattern, another in rainbow dégradé mohair, both belted to maintain waist emphasis. Several other coats featured overlapping folds of wool and cashmere, their edges saw-toothed. Armadillo? Try roof shingles. De Castelbajac placed a constellation of oversize, irregular stars across an intarsia dress, a jacquard duffel, and a muffler. Later on, his illustrations were given added dimension as allover fur intarsia, and then with beaver trim to outline faces. Academic stripes coursed down the inseams of oversize trousers, and he revisited the smocked knits introduced for Pre-Fall.
At some point, you wondered what type of loophole de Castelbajac devised in his pursuit of focus that allowed for so much visual variety. But as you began noticing how the elasticized band of a bubble jacket was really a tight panel of accordion-pleated leather, or that the puffed "safety" collar of his parkas gave an almost regal impression, you understood how sport soir was a summation of focused details applied to wardrobe basics and not just a catchy theme. Anyway, de Castelbajac has the type of imagination that will take Meret Oppenheim's famous furry teacup and flip it over into a hat. True discipline—self-imposed or otherwise—would make him wilt.