Two’s a Trend: Models Writhing on the Floor

Holy moly! People—well, models—caught writhing on the floor at fashion shows in Paris this week! It happened twice in the last four days, and anything I see more than once on the runway I call a trend.

The first case of this Saint Vitas’ Dance was at furrier Quentin Véron’s show held in a hangar underneath Paris’s Alexandre III Bridge. The place had a damp, down and out feel and the little stage the furrier set up with a rusty, red velvet curtain looked like something out of an ancient cabaret. The 22-year-old Véron dresses in vintage 19th century himself, (complete with waistcoat and top hat) and is devoted to all things Tim Burton. The show, Véron’s second, was a furry spectacle of the wild and hairy sort based on his idea of La Cour Des Miracles, the after-hours world of 18th Century Parisian beggars who stop limping and “miraculously” recover their sight as soon as the general public, a.k.a. the pigeons, have left. The show included a few bearded men in chubby fur dresses with heels and ladies twisting themselves into pretzel shapes and, yes, rolling all over the floor and moaning. Véron indulged his taste for Saga gold fox, which he mixes with black fox for one coat that looks like a chubby blouson over a skirt of pelts. For footwear he trimmed Doc Martin’s with rooster feathers and gold filigree. Fur will never be quite the same again.
I thought this would be the last orgasmic fashion display in Paris this week, but it was only the beginning. Bernhard Willhelm, a designer with several more years of spectacle experience than Véron, is feeling frisky this season too. Just getting into see Bernhard’s show required walking through walls. By that I mean literally smashing up against the side of a narrow passage and slipping and sliding forward. That was the only way in, or I’d still be in line now.

Once inside the Paris Bourse’s gilded upstairs salon, it was clear Bernhard and his co-designer Jutta Kraus had called in all the crazies from Paris to Antwerp to display their talents. The collection, a mix of sushi chef uniforms, bright intarsia knitwear and sweeping silk print shifts, was really second fiddle to the idiot savant performances. Willhelm’s crowd were planting cacti on foam rubber lawns, lifting potted plant bar bells, playing toy telephone with Pepsi plastic glasses connected by a string and shoving their heads through paintings to create a necklace. And, oh yeah, there was one lady dressed in nothing but a pair of Willhelm’s bright patterned tights, rolling herself in a ball across the floor and moaning like she’d reached the septième ciel.