This is only the second season that Jean-Charles de Castelbajac has shown an official pre-collection. The starting point came courtesy of an artwork by Jean Cocteau titled Je me Souviens de lAvenir ("I remember the future"). For de Castelbajac, who has long considered fashion's artistic and poetic potential, Cocteau's work had a certain resonance beyond time travel. Here, it allowed the designer the creative license to propose seemingly unrelated themes—knit dresses and blanket coats from his past, cutesy teddy bear prints, hidden text flourishes, knit fringes, and vaguely retro silhouettes—as a unified, playful whole.
Among the bread-and-butter turtlenecks and tunics, there was a fair amount of novelty: matelassé quilting on a jacket stitched to reveal a face, trompe loeil touches on jacquards, and T-shirts and removable layers designed to enhance silhouette (collar flaps) and texture (an alpaca bolero) alike. Beyond those details, it was impossible to miss the "smocking" technique in which braided panels appeared seamlessly integrated into the fabric. Apparently, de Castelbajac's team is especially proud of this design element, perhaps because it underscored the brand's continued pursuit of originality—no easy feat after all these years. But then you look at the muted rainbow coat with its sawtooth edges or the maxi poche (oversize pocket) sheath and you realize that everything old can, in fact, look new again.