“Visionary”. This is certainly the word that best describes Paco Rabanne and his work. The designer, whose mother fled Franco’s Spain across the Pyrenees with her four children under her arm to settle in Brittany, had the revolutionary idea of working with metal to create ultra-small dresses that the icons of the sixties would compete to wear. Françoise Hardy, Jane Birkin and Audrey Hepburn were at the top of the list.
With Yves Saint-Laurent, he was also the first to put black models on the catwalk, and he rigorously set out to break the narrow codes of fashion. 50 years later, his perfume ads are still being talked about (who doesn’t have an opinion on the 1 Million and Lady Million campaigns ?
This Friday, 3 February, at the age of 88, the man Coco Chanel called “the metallurgist of fashion” died in his adopted home of Portsall in Finistère. And with this announcement, an entire industry mourns an openly rebellious and provocative artist – with sometimes clearly far-fetched prophecies.
“A couturier is an innovator, someone who must shake things up, introduce new techniques and forms,” he said in 1976. Mission accomplished.