“Celebration” was the name of Off-White’s spring runway show, presented last night inside Ateliers Berthier in Paris. X-ray printed blazers, belly cutouts and cowboy boots with arrowheads filled the industrial space built by architect Charles Garner and used to store sets for the Paris Opera. It was a perfect place to pay homage to Virgil Abloh, the late multi-hyphenate designer, who began work on this season’s Spring 2023 collection before his passing last year.
As he examined and experimented with each piece that paraded on the “Impossible Blue” catwalk last night, Ibrahim Kamara, Off-White’s new artistic and image director, realized that it was a celebration. After all, Abloh was often drawn to the warm indigo hue, which lined the catwalk and punctuated models’ looks, courtesy of the blue pigments from the Paperwork beauty collection, for the runway.
“I wanted to be pretty playful, but glam rock,” the makeup artist said Hiromi Ueda backstage as she held the Labyrinth the shadow of Paperwork’s multi-purpose pencils in her hand. “It’s beautiful, sexy and confident.” Ueda relied on just two of the beauty line’s color sticks, Maze and Jet (an inky black), to complete every look. For the sooty looks, Jet was smudged around the edges with a blender brush for a smoky effect and, of course, finished with a touch of Maze on the lower waterline. The more subtle version seen on models of all genders, and particularly those wearing white (called the “pure” look), consisted of Maze drawn along the lower waterline and wiped away for an “eye- worn liner” which was almost imperceptible.
Visible on the other side of the cavernous pieces, however, were the “bright blue” graphic fenders that hairstylist Jawara called a “harder blue look.” He and Ueda discussed the glam rock direction before the show, where words like “tough” and “playful” described the vibe. Jawara eventually gave models wispy mullet and pixie wigs alongside cornrows, slicked backs and a cerulean buzz cut. “I think they complement the hair really well,” Jawara said of the final makeup look. “We imagined it together.” It reflects Off-White’s larger goal of elevating its coterie of artists and speaks to the spirit of collaboration that continues to define Abloh’s legacy.