Paco Rabanne’s French Fantasy Film Is An Esoteric Nod To The Brand’s Founder
Four women, one castle, and a world of mystic forces let loose within: what sounds like the synopsis of a horror movie has been made a thrilling proposition at the hands of Paco Rabanne creative director Julien Dossena, who has created a short film to mark the arrival of the autumn/winter 2019 collection.
Dossena, it turns out, has a passion for French fantasy films. His influences for the eerily sensuous romp around a mysterious yet immaculately decorated mansion, were not confined to within the new-wave era, however. In no particular order, his inspirations – to name a few – were cowboys, dandies, grunge, baroque, countryside, the toughness of acid jazz and the tenderness of friendship. But, most importantly, women. Rather, active and thoughtful women: Paco Rabanne women, who emulate the glamour-meets-bourgeois Parisian codes of the brand.
“I imagine multiple situations and incarnations from these references,” Dossena tells Vogue of how he storyboarded the two-minute film, and his approach to fashion design as a whole. “It is both quite abstract and practical at the same time.” Dossena’s philosophical protagonists in The Apparition, which was written and directed by Raphael Gianelli-Meriano, are multifaceted talents Nora Attal, Nilaya Bal, Fishbach and Christa Théret. “We wanted to talk about the feeling of sisterhood. The power of womanhood is strong and mysterious, eternal as well, and mystic in that sense,” he adds.
Within the footage, day turns to night (with the help of cinematographer Martin de Chabaneix), leaving plenty of scope for outfit changes (via stylist Marie-Amélie Sauvé) within the “time loop”. The most enthralling of team looks comes at the film’s climax as the women “gather around the light” – a disco ball that reflects Paco Rabanne’s signature metal paillettes on mesh dresses – for a “nightly ritual”. “I could live here for eternity,” is the narrator’s closing remark – and it’s easy to imagine floating around an estate in chainmail that shimmers and swishes.
Dossena himself has never experienced a mystic force, but he believes “people can sometimes be transcended by mystic belief”. When it comes to the founder of the namesake brand, however, he has no hesitations. “Paco Rabanne himself is a mystic esoteric writer,” he affirms. “The film is a wink to the founder.” Will this seductive snapshot into Dossena’s world translate into sales? Perhaps not, but, as always, his evocative imagery cuts through the visuals in the mass fashion market.