“Celebration” was the name of Off-White’s spring show, presented inside the Ateliers Berthier last night in Paris. X-Ray-print blazers, belly cut-outs, and arrowed cowboy boots filled the industrial space built by the architect Charles Garnier and used for storing Paris Opera sets. It was a fitting venue to honour Virgil Abloh, the late multi-hyphenate designer, who began workshopping this season’s spring 2023 collection before his passing last year.
As he examined and experimented with each piece that walked the “Impossible Blue” runway last night, Ibrahim Kamara, Off-White’s new image and art director, realised it’s a celebratory one. After all, Abloh was often drawn to the warm indigo shade, which carpeted the catwalk and punctuated model gazes, courtesy of blue pigments from the Paperwork beauty collection, for the show.
“I wanted to be quite playful, but glam rock,” said make-up artist Hiromi Ueda backstage as she held the Maze shade of Paperwork’s multi-use crayons in her hand. “It’s beautiful, sexy, and confident.” Ueda relied on just two of the beauty line’s colour sticks, Maze and Jet (an inky black), to complete every look. For sooty gazes, Jet was faded at the edges with a blending brush for a smoked-out effect — and, of course, finished with a pop of Maze on the lower waterline. The subtler version seen across models of all genders, and especially those wearing white (called the “pure” look), consisted of Maze traced along the lower waterline and wiped away for a “worn-in eyeliner” effect that was nearly imperceptible.
Visible from across the cavernous rooms, though, were the “bold blue” graphic wings that hairstylist Jawara called a “harder blue look.” He and Ueda discussed the glam rock direction ahead of the show, where words like “tough” and “playful” described the mood. Jawara ultimately gave models wispy mullet and pixie wigs alongside cornrows, slick backs, and one cerulean buzz cut. “I think they complement the hair really well,” said Jawara of the final make-up looks. “We came up with it together.” It reflects Off-White’s larger goal to uplift its coterie of artists and speaks to the collaborative spirit that continues to define Abloh’s legacy.