Like a child, opening a book before learning to read, assailed by un-decodable hieroglyph-like symbols….This was the analogy Paula Canovas del Vas sought to create with her fall collection, her second on the Paris calendar since the Spanish designer decamped from London.
Indeed, the 2022 LVMH Prize semifinalist’s intriguing surrealistic, colorful world largely defies interpretation. For those in the know, her cloven-toed footwear is semiology on the street — here offered as glitter-coated knee-high boots with cone-shaped heels.
Her acid color palette echoed that of the graffiti pens her models used during the presentation, drawing naïve scribbles and representations of figures like horned beasts on plexiglass panels and mirrors on the floor.
Multicolored knitwear looked to unravel on sweaters, and hid the face on exaggerated mohair balaclavas, some with maw-like orifices, dehumanizing the silhouette. Deadstock fabrics and yarns were spliced together to create a new take on feminine silhouettes, with ruched shoulder details on multihued knits, draped tulle tops that exaggerated the shoulders, and body-hugging skirts and dresses in translucent strips of fabric.
Her dresses in particular challenged notions of perception. Their surface of multiple drawstring pouches in neon pink tulle over white on an otherwise simple shift was intended to evoke pillows. They were stuffed with paper in a nod to the artistic theme.