The Paris-L.A. axis was perhaps a little in evidence at Lydia Maurer's debut show for Paco Rabanne, as it had been at Hedi Slimane's Saint Laurent debut the night before at the same venue. The strains of the Doors' "The Crystal Ship" set the scene and were reprised later in the show—and indeed these were the kind of clothes that might have been worn by one of Jim Morrison's girlfriends. They were also the kind of thing that could well have been sported by a certain French movie star of the sixties. The most famous Paco Rabanne dress, the Bardot, got a well thought-out makeover and was one of the standout pieces in this collection.
Lydia Maurer's remaking of Rabanne starts in terms of the sensual textures of the house—replacing some of the metal with silicone and silk—rather than a complete overhauling of the classic silhouettes. "I wanted to do something lighter and more poetic. The lace is new to the house; it is more sensual," said the designer just before her show. Talking about the standout white silhouettes, she said, "I wanted to mix fabric with metal and have that texture of silicone as a mesh. It is something more sweet." There was almost the sense of something a little more preppy there as well, plus the silicone had a touchable texture that made it that bit more perverse.
Maurer, who is an alumna of Riccardo Tisci's Givenchy, is only 29, and the young designer has something. Apart from a strange choice of opening looks that had little to do with the rest of the collection—they should have scrapped these purple pieces or at least avoided putting them up front—there was much to take heed of in this show. The shoe proportions alone—which were relatively flat and slightly clunky in keeping with the sixties influence—suggested that the house would not simply amp up the sex to win an audience. The finale outfits were also really worth looking at, especially up close. Hopefully, the house will give Maurer adequate time to fully find her feet.