Last July, Rad Hourani impressed the fashion world with an iconoclastic unisex Haute Couture collection. This season, he was invited back and chose to present his 22 unisex looks to a select crowd at the Canadian Cultural Centre in Paris. The moulded white walls, parquet and crystal chandelier provided a luxurious yet intimate décor for the défilé. Showcasing garments that were neither gender nor season-specific, the collection was an unprecedented statement in the annals of Haute Couture.
The first model stepped out in an oversized blazer and crisp ankle trousers. She wore white socks with sandals, a combination reminiscent of Japanese geisha. Displaying a meticulous balance of tone, the pristine-white looks transitioned into pitch-black ones, making way for a series of half-white and half-black outfits. Though the passing from light to dark was dramatic, the shapes created by the garments’ layering emitted a harmonious sense of yin and yang. In contrast to his first collection, where most jackets were belted around the waist, the lack of visible fastenings in this second collection gave each look a bundled effect and a sense of futuristic drapery.
Despite the many innovations, Hourani remained loyal to his aesthetic. From floor-length coats by way of elongated tuxedo blazers to sleeveless tops, the collection was aseasonal. RAD aficionados were pleased to find the iconic lapel-less jackets, worn with long tops peeking out from underneath. His signature unisex heels also appeared in a new low-top version. Even under the bright lights of Haute Couture, he continues to flout the gender binary in fashion.
A master tailor and leather smith, Hourani has frequently demonstrated the versatility of the colour black with his singularly sleek outfits. This expertise was evident everywhere in this collection. The line-up closed with dark leather-heavy ensembles, which harked back to the designer’s first collections.
Returning for the finale, the models marched out single file sporting identical masks moulded in the designer’s image: the RADical face of Haute Couture.