Fashion

Maison Rabih Kayrouz Spring 2022 Ready-to-Wear Collection

“I hate fashion, and I love clothes.” The sentiment resonates in a week of ridiculous Paris traffic and shows many inexplicable kilometers outside the city center, but that’s another story. Rabih Kayrouz was talking about the runway system and the way it can force designers into unnecessary change. Kayrouz’s thriving small business proves otherwise. He has a group of standards that he remakes every season. Why? Because his customers keep coming back for them.

“In French,” he began, “we say, ‘j’assume.’ After Covid, I’m more strong to say it now: Every season I was forced not to tell a story, but to talk about a theme, something I had to invent just to amuse certain people. I hate this. It’s not me, it was fake. I said no. I’m showing my clothes in a normal way, because they are what I call normal.”

At his Boulevard Raspail showroom and studio, slipping into a white gabardine jacket and a black Japanese polyester shirt dress, one begins to understand Kayrouz’s definition of normal. His clothes aren’t plain and they’re definitely not boring. Instead, he elevates classic shapes with elegant materials—like the substantial cotton gabardine of that safari jacket finished with a grosgrain ribbon, and the supple, almost weightless Japanese polyester of the belted shirt dress.

But just as essential to his approach is his thoughtful pattern-making. His denim blazer is split up the sides, like most of his jackets, which gives it a cool, relaxed profile. A gold lamé blouse is seamed along the spine not the sides, so its cloud-like sleeves really billow. And a black long dress with silk faille sleeves in similarly grand proportions and a bias cut silk charmeuse body has a gold zipper on its front that takes it from a fancy dinner party to the red carpet.

These may seem like minor details, but they’re the difference between the bombast we often see on the runways and real-life wearability. Kayrouz is reclaiming that word one attentively cut and draped piece at a time.

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