September 24, 2013 Paris
Raynaud was their inspiration because, said Deborah, "We were thinking of the parallel between creating an actual house and a fashion house." But the look of Raynaud's house, with its linear grids of white ceramic tiles grouted in black, also seemed pretty significant in determining the look of the collection: black and white, matte and shine, big squares, little squares, gingham, honeycomb textures. The Royers remodeled sporty athleticism, one of the big stories for Spring 2014, with their own knitwear expertise. "Fusing French craftsmanship with street influences," said Deborah, "less archive, more anarchy." The black-and-whiteness, the kilt over drop-crotch leggings, suspenders on oversize checked silk trousers, gender neutrality—shades of Bodymap in the eighties? OK, grant the girls that flicker of fashion anarchy, but otherwise, the linear precision of the clothes was less about letting go, more about complete control of the body, with pieces in substantial technical yarns that celebrated the fit form. The Royers added extra definition with contrast grids that echoed Raynaud's grouting (a bike short was a basic building block). And the futuristic tennis dress that has popped up a few times this season—remember Rag & Bone's transmission from Wimbledon on Mars?—reappeared as a grid-checked shift in a tech fabric with a pleated skirt in wool flannel hanging off its dropped waist.
Behind Raynaud's installation, a giant screen played Tiffany Godoy's film of the boys and girls of the Piece posse wearing the clothes from the collection. Given that the show space was the impressively brutalist bunker where the Cinémathèque Français screens movies, Godoy's monochrome, nouvelle-vague-ish piece enhanced the sense that the Royers are surfing their own vague in French fashion. It certainly made for a memorable and enlightening alternative to catwalk convention.