Nearly two years ago, the fashion world took notice when a young designer named Julien Dossena took over the Paco Rabanne collection, a Paris label synonymous with the mod avant-garde fashion of the 1960s. Not much had been happening with Rabanne before that, other than a series of ill-fated attempts to modernize its famously youthful spirit by other designers who came and left. But Dossena, who formerly worked at Balenciaga for Nicolas Ghesquière, clearly had something new and exciting to say with chain mail, the fabric of choice at the house of Rabanne.
His latest fall collection, his fourth for Rabanne, was a critical hit to such an extent that his mesh dresses made of plastic circles and black leather baby doll dresses have been ordered up from retailers around the world. In the new September issue of InStyle, now on newsstands, Dossena also stars among a 10 designers who are reviving classic labels with great success—a group we are calling "Fashion’s New A-List" for their achievements.
It’s been a steady comeback over two years, but the momentum has given Rabanne’s owners, the Puig fashion and fragrance conglomerate, good reason to put more investment in the house. WWD noted in a report today that signage for a new Paco Rabanne store on the rue Cambon in Paris recently went up, heralding the first new store for the label since its last one closed more than a decade ago. That represents a major validation for Dossena, who told InStyle his vision for the house is "to be as modernist and relevant on the fashion landscape as Paco Rabanne was in his time."
And as far as the future goes, you can expect to hear a lot more from Dossena.
"Design is the only thing I can do," he says, "and by chance the only job that makes me happy to get out of bed every morning."