Jean-Charles de Castelbajac Shows Elaborate Prints in a Sacred Space

Jean Charles de Castelbajac Spring/Summer 2013
(Pierre Verdy/AFP/Getty Images)

PARIS — There were lots of interesting elements in the ever-eccentric Jean-Charles de Castelbajac’s spring collection — the techno jungle prints that grew into razor-sharp leaf pointed shoulders on jackets and dresses, the linen coat that featured a giant applique alligator made out of actual alligator skin, the clear rain slicker embellished with what looked like a giant silver space-age Mayan temple; the list goes on. But the most interesting thing about yesterday’s show was, perhaps, the setting: a Protestant church on Rue Saint Honoré.

Indeed, it was marvelously strange to see all these fashion people in their wild hats, sunglasses, and show-going garb pile into the church, whose walls were still plastered with congregation notes and the numbers corresponding to the hymns from the previous mass. Stranger still to see the runway’s elaborate jungle-waterfall backdrop in the place of the pulpit, and the DJ doing his thing in the cathedra high above the audience.

But something about the designer’s yellow and black dresses, and tops and trousers printed with what appeared to be geometric renderings of early Mayan villages, worked in the grand religious setting. And the LEDs radiating from the back of the catwalk enhanced the primitive blue print of what looked like villagers picking fruit from trees, which was featured on a decidedly un primitive peplum jacket-and-shorts suit, as well as a demure frock. Taking into account the apparent Mayan references and the religious runway, one has to wonder, was de Castelbajac toying with the ancient civilization’s prediction of a 2012 apocalypse? Maybe. But if de Castelbajac’s spring girl is readying herself for the end of the world, she’s planning on going out in style.

Click on the slideshow to see looks from Jean-Charles de Castelbajac’s spring 2013 collection.

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