Sporty is a popular look in ready-to-wear circles and it’s not terribly unusual to see styles with strong sport origins repurposed for day wear use. Racer back tops and bicycle pants are probably the two most common elements we see on a regular basis. So, when Julien Dossena goes after a sporty look for Paco Rabanne’s spring/summer collection, that’s not really all that big a deal, right? We’re good with this, right?


Uhm … anyone?

Apparently not. If it were possible for every editor to roll their eyes in unison, they just might have done so upon seeing this Paco Rabanne collection this afternoon. I don’t think I’ve ever seen heads shake so often, pens put up so quickly, and eyes covered so frequently as we did during this presentation. While, on the surface it seems to have a lot of retail appeal, and perhaps when describing it might even sound okay, the reality is there’s just too much here that no one really wants to see sitting across from them at lunch … even at a fast food place.

Basic elements to this collection really aren’t all that bad. Mesh covering over a plaid tennis ensemble could work. Leather moto jackets over tight-fitting biker pants should be reasonable. Lattice patterned knits and laser cut skirt hems all sound rather attractive, don’t they? And the truth is, some of them do work really well in the latter part of the collection. The problem is that with each of these descriptions I’ve left off something important.

Brass rings dangling below the hips. Zippers along the hips. Worst of all … those aren’t biker pants, they’re stirrup pants. Add to that the swimwear tops with cutouts that can’t help but emphasize even the smallest tummy bulge and what Julien has created is a collection that just doesn’t quite make the cut, despite the most valiant of efforts. There is a lot here that could have worked had he left off a few details or just taken a slightly different direction. For example, had he gone with more of a racer back tee instead of the cutout look, it would have dramatically improved those ensembles. Slapping a cool skirt over your swimsuit only works, though, when the swimsuit itself is flattering. Trailing ribbons is a bit of a trend this season, but putting a metal ring at the end of it makes it a hazard, even if it’s short.

Swing and a miss, to pirate a baseball phrase.

This Paco Rabanne collection tries really hard to be sporty, young, hip, and fun. With the exception of a few knit pieces, though, the majority just don’t work. Stirrup pants never worked. So, maybe we try something different next season, okay?

Photo credit: Yannis Vlamos

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