Cédric Charlier's show today confirmed some elements that may amount to a signature: scalpel-sharp cuts, judicious injections of hardware (i.e. zippers), primal prints. Just as significantly, it cast him as a confident storyteller, which is impressive in a designer whose career is still fledgling. For today's story, he took a world of clinical white, fiercely smeared it with color, then mounted a full-on fluoro assault. All the while, proportions shifted, from crisply linear to subtly asymmetric to draped, folded, and bunched. The inevitable intrusion of chaos on order is an utterly irresistible concept—at least to some people, one of whom may be Charlier's makeup artist. Defining the models' faces here was an alienating replicant blear.
Charlier suspended vibrating mirrored cubes over the catwalk. They were a direct reference to the work of Jeppe Hein, an artist whose specialty is interactive sculpture that responds to the presence of people. That has a vague connection to the things that clothes do for people. And yes, there was an anatomical component to Charlier's outfits, with their hints of layered dissection, but he preferred the word "ergonomic." Interaction again, this time between a human body and the stuff it is wearing. Charlier had been traveling in Japan, where he'd been inspired by an exhibition of samurai armor. He challenged himself to translate its rigidity into fluidity. "L'armure de charme," he called the result. At the very least, he's got himself a name for a perfume, should he ever be in position to do one. And Charlier further proved himself a dab hand at coinage when he dubbed the fluoro orange that juiced his collection "mercurochrome monochrome." Not something we'll forget in a hurry, and that power to evoke is a true asset for a talented designer whose career should be filled with opportunity.
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