You immersed yourselves in the history of the label in order to understand it and come up with a fresh take on the brand – could you identify any key elements or ‘spring boards’ from the brand’s heritage that helped you?
There were a few realisations. The first was that the approach developed by Paco Rabanne had more in common with the artistic avant-garde of Paris in the late 60s than the world of couture which he was a part of. Paco Rabanne shared a conceptual and radical approach with the Parisian intelligentsia like artists Salvador Dali and Julio le Parc or the experimental musician Pierre Boulez who provided the music for his 1966 collection 12 Unwearable Dresses.
Secondly there is a strong influence of modernity. Paco Rabanne skipped the step of pret-a-porter, meaning he went directly into couture and began working with ‘ignoble’ materials like metal and plastic which represented modernity and the future. In 1968 he created a mail-order DIY plastic disc dress that came with a pair of pliers. The sci-fi vision of the future is reflected in the costumes for the sex icon Barbarella – also one of the greatest title sequences of all time – where fashion is melded with the machine age, airplanes and architecture.
It was important to understand the DNA of the brand in order to create a visual identity that modernises its radical past and give it the relevance it deserves.
How would you describe the personality of the brand?
Research driven, structural, radical and unexpected. It’s a personality Zak Group relates to.