Christian Cowan Spring Summer 2024 collection fashion show at Paris Fashion Week SS24 (September 28, 2023).
Christian Cowan made an audacious splash in the City of Lights with his debut at Paris Fashion Week. Yet, as showgoers soon discovered, this was no ordinary runway show—it was a spectacular display of avant-garde creativity and unapologetic camp.
The defining moment of Cowan's Spring Summer 2024 collection was an oversize orb shrouded in black fuzz that loomed ominously over the runway. This enigmatic sphere, a showstopper in its own right, seemed to possess a life of its own, taking the spotlight even before the models hit the catwalk. Cowan confessed his obsession with this outlandish creation—a trio of spherical dresses that included a disco ball and a wedding gown. But there was one caveat: this fur-clad behemoth proved to be a logistical nightmare.
Speaking backstage before the show, Cowan shared the challenges he faced with a dose of humor. "It hasn't fit through any of the doors," he quipped. "We even got to our temporary office space, and two of the looks just could not fit in the building, so they had to be parked in the venue, like, seven days ahead of time because luckily, this space has huge doors."
The runway took an unexpected turn when a brave model was tasked with navigating the dimly lit catwalk, carpeted with inky fake fur. As if that wasn't daunting enough, the furry fashion anomaly, affectionately dubbed "The Blob," set off on an unintentional adventure. It first collided with a small podium where singer Sam Smith was delivering a tribute performance to queer icon Pete Burns, singing their cover of Dead or Alive's "You Spin Me Round."
With Smith's gentle redirection, The Blob continued its wayward journey, ricocheting off a wall of outstretched hands in the front row before eventually coming to rest in front of the altar. It was a moment that defied expectation and left the audience in awe.
Cowan's apparent delight in the chaos suggested that he might have orchestrated the spectacle, and indeed, the camp-o-meter was ringing off the charts. However, the unconventional runway antics momentarily overshadowed the clothes, which were no less extraordinary.
The setting, bathed in artificial smoke and the late-night hour, provided the ideal backdrop for Cowan's razzle-dazzle party frocks. His collection showcased a range of eye-catching ensembles, from an oversized silver-speckled tweed jacket draped casually over a matching bra and short-shorts to a fur-trimmed pink bustier dress that exuded a playful "Romy and Michele" vibe. Every look was punctuated with chunky platform boots adorned with rows of gleaming silver buckles.
But Cowan's intentions ran deeper than just spectacle and glamour. With a clientele that includes luminaries like Lady Gaga and Lil Nas X and a close rapport with Sam Smith, Cowan aimed to redefine his brand image by relocating his show from New York to Paris. In doing so, he sought to align his brand with the city's historic legacy of artistic creativity and craftsmanship.
"Paris has always been synonymous with true creativity and mastering your craft," Cowan explained. "And then businesswise, I want to signify to people the growth of our brand. You know, just a few short years ago, we were completely partywear wild dresses, and now we have a fully developed merchandising plan of amazing poplins and denims and crepes and silks, and I just think this is the room to be in to do that."
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