Midway into the three-hour-long graduation show that ended the year at Brussels’ renowned La Cambre fashion school, a young woman stoically stood in the middle of the runway while each of her fellow models fiercely ripped a piece of her Louis Gabriel Nouchi attire off. She herself removed the last piece of clothing covering her privates. A pause followed, fittingly, and the sweaty audience rushed outside for a drink.
“Hot” had actually been a buzzword long before that rough striptease, and not only because of the scorching heat in the venue, Schaarbeek Halles. The show’s catalog, shot by Emmanuel Laurent, reproduced Steven Meisel’s iconic 1990’s CK One campaign, which itself reprised Richard Avedon’s legendary pictures of Andy Warhol’s Factory superstars. Like Avedon, Laurent photographed full-frontal nudity, and it’s safe to say the brown-haired stud stole the show. Kinkiness was also prominent in Fabien Verriest‘s portion of the show, who came up with what can only be described as “power-bottom pants,” trousers constructed to bare the male derrière.
Aside from these shock tactics, the show didn’t exactly break new ground, as one could have expected from an institution that counts Olivier Theyskens as an alumnus. Some of the looks seemed a bit derivative (of Comme des Garçons) and the stagy choreography sometimes did the show a disservice. But there were some nice moments, like strips of flowery fabrics at Eddy Anemian, fur trapped in plastic at Julian Klausner, and nice houndstooth pants at Naomi Coureau. I also noticed particularly inventive accessories, like Alexandra Kengen‘s sneakers, Delphine Baverel‘s leis worn as leg warmers, Verriest’s noisy wooden sandals or Samantha Cazenave‘s sparkly sneakers.