There is practically nothing really like the experience of one particular of Julien Dossena’s dresses versus your skin. In the front row of his Paco Rabanne show on Wednesday afternoon—he has been the inventive director there for a decade now—the actress Jemima Kirke was recounting how she’d tried on one of his metal creations, performed in qualified deference to Rabanne’s unorthodox, house-age creations, in the atelier the day in advance of. “It was freezing,” she explained. Though she sounded type of titillated by the working experience. (She ended up sporting a knit gold-and-silver crop best and matching extended skirt by the brand name in its place, and appeared pretty comfortable.)

This is Dossena’s signature critical: His garments are thrilling and often perplexing, and decidedly erotic. Like Rabanne, he utilizes plastic, chainmail, and steel, his atelier attaching shimmering discs and fringe blades by hand using small silver rings. But even when he ventures into other products, the effect is thrilling. At a time when everything looks plucked from the Instagram mood board, Dossena makes garments that are provocative and, in description, look like they shouldn’t quite work—like drop 2023’s fast paced orange floral prints tiered amongst dense black lace on a gown, or beige plush wrapped around the shoulders like tentacles from a terrible aspiration. And nonetheless, they glance totally arrive hither.

“That relationship between the body and this variety of product, for [Rabanne], it was what he located pretty much fetishistic,” Dossena mentioned in a dialogue in late February. It was also the instant of the sexual revolution—Rabanne initially emerged in the 1960s, and died earlier this year—and “women had been acknowledging their bodies in a distinct way, and [there was] that independence of sexuality, and the decision to be appealing in a new way.” Dossena’s description of Rabanne’s initially instant of results sounds not unlike our present working day, with women of all ages gravitating towards sexier or even more aggressive dresses.

This is Dossena’s signature important: His clothing are remarkable and normally bewildering, and decidedly erotic.

Dossena has manufactured Paco Rabanne the go-to model for females who want some thing uncommon but extravagant. Moda Operandi founder Lauren Santo Domingo, who often wears Paco herself, suggests the apparel sell briskly on her website: “There is these demand from customers that we launched an unique capsule of Julien’s signature chainmail, scratch lace, and jacquard knits recolored in white in October, with quite a few models selling out within times of start.”

In the audience were being sector energy players and fellow designers, like Louis Vuitton inventive director Nicolas Ghesquiere (under whom Dossena labored at Balenciaga), shoe designer Pierre Hardy, and Jean Paul Gaultier. (The existence of Gaultier added an additional layer of intrigue—could Dossena be the up coming designer in Gaultier’s rotating cast of guest couturiers?)

a blurry black and white photo of paco rabanne designer julien dossena

Julien Dossena

Paolo Roversi

Regardless of whether he’s headed in other places or not, Dossena this year is poised to elevate himself to a new degree of manner infamy. In a sea of progressively anodyne and wearable high fashion, Dossena goes his possess way. Visitors at the Wednesday display who were dressed in Rabanne clanged up and down the plush-lined runway beforehand having selfies with fellow Rabanne-clad attendees. My seatmate, Lisa Rinna, laughed about the impracticalities of putting on a small fit whose cloth resembled upholstery, lined in a layer of vinyl. But when the demonstrate commenced and the cutout tangerine-orange robes bedazzled with pomegranate hearts started coming down the runway, she was gasping with motivation. As Santo Domingo put it of Dossena’s get the job done, “I locate that although Julien’s garments are vogue-ahead to say the minimum, they are effortless to put on, with both of those the top quality and match remaining place-on.”

Doing the job in the atelier, Dossena and his crew intention for “that lightness, that easiness. For it not to be a costume, but for it to be a true gown.” But they are also 1 of the few manner properties determined by novelty and experimentation. “You have normally to experiment and to examine and to search with your teams how to get that sensation of newness, I would say, or how to function a new content.” These fur-like tentacle parts, for illustration, have been in fact made out of a deep-pile, super-hairy wool. “There is a sewing device for certain, because there are some items in material far too. But a ton of it is like, generally there is no machine. It is genuinely by hand most of the time. It is actually a craftsmanship that is, let’s say, inherent to the residence. There are a ton of individuals here opening the rings and putting the components with each other and engineering.”

When he arrived, there was continue to a person employee in the atelier who experienced labored with Rabanne himself, and aided Dossena best his metal mesh technique. Usually, it’s Dossena and young fashion faculty graduates figuring out how to work with unorthodox elements. “I have viewed some actually younger individuals coming from university a handful of years back that now are at the top of the chainmail atelier, let’s say. And they master on the world-wide-web. They uncovered a great deal from the archive also. It’s a actual development each and every time, depending on the substance and the condition of the aspect that we’re gonna use to make that gown. It is truly engineering.”

If they may well understand a lot more classic techniques at other Parisian ateliers, his staff choose to “be a little little bit punkish” and find out about hammering and stringing points jointly in its place.

“I’m trying to enable women of all ages to be … the incarnation of a sturdy woman, with unbiased self-confidence.”

The slide 2023 selection identified its footing in a overall performance amongst Rabanne and Salvador Dalí, who ended up longtime close friends. (Allegedly, Spanish-born Dalí when named Spanish-born Rabanne “the second-best Spanish artist”—after himself.) Surrealism is a topic which is captivated a range of designers currently, from Jonathan Anderson at Loewe to Daniel Roseberry’s Schiaparelli, but Dossena managed to make it truly feel unique. Most outstanding ended up a quartet of dresses printed with Dalí paintings, produced with the cooperation of the Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí, which stretched and distorted over imperious cape-back gowns. (They had been basically elegant plenty of to be awards present costume contenders.) The plan was that the gown would glimpse as though “it was reduce from the portray of Dalí,” Dossena described, an amusingly incendiary strategy that recalls the “creative freedom” and “radical modernity” Dossena admired in equally Rabanne and Dalí.

Dossena is keen to emphasize the couture excellent of considerably of his output, especially the chainmail, which is now a content made use of greatly in vogue. “Working at Paco, I truly place pressure on myself to be the finest at that, you know?” But what he seeks most of all is “to make it pertinent.”

“Because it can go tremendous effortless in this form of sci-fi film, costume [feeling]. So how to make it seriously appropriate in the tale of the present, for instance, or in the present?”

The sheer selection of girls gleefully dressed in the designer’s items advised he’s nicely on his way. He mused towards the conclude of our dialogue on how he thinks about designing for a lady, as a guy. “I’m making an attempt to support females, as substantially as I can, to be, at a special instant, the actual girl they want to be. The incarnation of a strong lady, with impartial self-assurance. And, of class, using treatment of the entire body of the female. I never want them to be vulnerable, particularly in the earth suitable now.”

Headshot of Rachel Tashjian

Rachel Tashjian is the Manner News Director at Harper’s Bazaar, functioning throughout print and electronic platforms. Formerly, she was GQ’s 1st manner critic, and labored as deputy editor of GARAGE and as a writer at Vanity Fair. She has written for publications together with Bookforum and Artforum, and is the creator of the invitation-only publication Opulent Tips.