Franck Sorbier reintroduces ready-to-wear at haute couture show with animal rights focus
‘Help’ was the heartfelt cry of French designer Franck Sorbier, who showed on Wednesday July 4 at the Paris Haute Couture Week with his Autumn/Winter 2018-19 collection. In a show that featured dancers on the catwalk, introduced by two young girls who, PETA militant-style, sported placards with the slogans ‘Leave animals alone’ and ‘Leave my planet alone’, Sorbier also revealed a series of ready-to-wear looks, revamping a line he hadn’t updated since summer 2000.
Six dancers - five women and one man - from the Opéra Garnier ballet modelled the capsule collection, which revolved around a single product, the suit jacket. Altogether, Franck Sorbier worked on nine items, in black or white, sleeved or sleeveless, longline or short, embroidered with floral or bird patterns, but always 100% cotton. Variations on the suit jacket aren’t a new thing for Franck Sorbier. In 1991, the label presented a collection entirely focused on this item, on which it built its reputation.
The rest of the show was instead devoted to Sorbier’s Haute Couture collection, featuring a bestiary of phantasmagoric animals strutting to the music of Parveen Sabrina Khan and Ilyas Raphaël Khan, and modelled by another eight Opéra Garnier dancers directed by Aurélie Dupont. From a baboon to the scarlet ibis, the firefly and the Chilean woodstar, ending with a traditional bride wearing an asymmetric dress in Lyon lace, morphed into a white rhinoceros.
All the items were unique, all of them made with plant-derived materials, evidence of Sorbier’s wish to play his part in the planet’s preservation, by highlighting the solutions the world of fashion can adopt to become more environment-friendly. “With this collection, I wanted to pay tribute to (all animals). In my opinion they are masterpieces of creation, and they have inspired, keep inspiring and will always inspire the tender feelings of human beings. (...) My colleagues, I call on you to put an end to animal suffering, so that the beauty of this world can endure,” said Franck Sorbier. Words that chime with the stance of Stella McCartney, who has campaigned to make fashion free from cruelty to animals since 2001, and which the labels that are ditching animal fur (like Versace, Burberry and Gucci), are increasingly heeding.
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