If ever there was a moment for Jean Colonna to relive his glory days peddling the grungy, immodest minimalism that made him famous in the ’90s, it’s now. Enough time has passed for the decade’s looks to register as vintage, and the fashion industry is currently mining the era’s archives for all they’re worth. The Paris-based designer is, in fact, making a comeback of sorts, but not on the most obvious terms. He has declared repeatedly that he has zero interest in nostalgia, and the clothes he’s putting out today are proof. Colonna, who since 2010 has served as the creative director of Korean activewear brand Kolon Sport, is so averse to looking back that he doesn’t even care to discuss what inspired these new clothes. “I forgot,” he succinctly replies when asked. His spring 2016 lineup bears all his aesthetic signatures-a pared-down color palette, a healthy dose of deconstruction, and subtle sex appeal-but none of it looks like a reissue of his old work.
The collection is heavy on slouchy, sheer knits, from wide-open-gauge sweaters to sleek maxi dresses with T-shirt-shaped tops, and supple leatherette outerwear to cover it all up. Simple, luxurious, and eccentric, they’re the kind of clothes you picture on the most insouciantly well-dressed women in street-style photographs. In that sense, while his designs look markedly different this go-round, the quietly transgressive spirit of Colonna’s work remains. “Nothing changes,” he offers. “The revolt is intact.”
Colonna avoids the standard fashion-press industrial complex, and his clothes aren’t stocked in major department stores—”The mainstream tends to take you where you do not want to go,” he says—but his ideas have clearly struck a chord. The shop he opened in 2014 Paris’s Marais neighborhood has become a permanent fixture, a sure statement that his work will extend beyond the ’90s revival on the runway.