Barbès is a Métro stop servicing a culturally diverse, predominantly North African neighborhood in the northeast corner of Paris; Batroun, one of the oldest cities in the world, is now a popular vacation destination in Lebanon. Rabih Kayrouz
hyphenated the two to arrive at a collection that mined the space between enrobing and disrobing. And if the Lebanese designer played down the broader tensions that both invite, he played up the draped, inherently fluid shapes that link them together. Kayrouz used a smoke machine to help establish the hammam setting, but you could have figured it out from the long robe done in bouclé and the checkered sheet dress. Further on, he reworked the cloaking effect of a burnoose in wool cashmere, finessed a few short-sleeve canvas tunics by fronting them with tone-on-tone velvet pockets, and showed a floor-grazing satin "toga" with a seamed ridge running down the center. Altogether, those pieces covered a wide swath of potential clientele, as did the felted cashmere coats. More specific were the long skirts with mirroring slits up the front and back, which swished like pants.
In limiting himself to inky blue, ivory, and deep burgundy, Kayrouz ended up with a modified tricolore
palette, which might or might not have been intentional. Add in the gold-quilted floral brocade and the effect was resolutely luxe. Arguably the key takeaway from this collection—aside from Walter Steiger's gold crackle boot—might be that we often revert to narrow ideas about street fashion and beach attire. Not that Kayrouz was trying to be instructive. Quite the contrary; he just wanted you to relax and soak up his soigné style.