Nightfall in the Palais Royal is unlike anywhere in Paris; the enclosed gardens buffer out the city’s noise, while the dark, tree-lined allées lit by elegant lampposts feel worthy of Magritte. This has been Isabel Marant’s venue for years, and tonight she noted how it holds personal significance: her mother had lived around the corner (and the brand’s HQ is also nearby). This season, she opted to occupy the full length of the gardens and the pre-show runway was bathed in a hazy blue nightclub glow consistent with the full-throttle energy of recent seasons. But once the lights went up, the music by Blonde Redhead kicked in, and Marant’s lineup of A-list models began a slower, seductive strut. There was a noticeable vibe shift that took us somewhere other than Paris.

Backstage, Marant and artistic director Kim Bekker bounced their fresh vision of femininity back and forth. Bekker: “It’s a new energy, more mystical, a bit more pure.” Marant: “It’s a collection about lightness.”

The opening look—a fluid, full-length parka in parachute toile over a lingerie number with delicate detailing—suggested that said lightness might translate as darkly provocative. Leather ensembles comprising a fantastically fitted jacket with undulating seams and barely-there shorts conveyed leggy lightness, while bouncy geometric patterned dresses flecked with lurex glinted in the light. Then there was the male model wearing an ivory pajama shirt—his skin visible through the leaf embroidery–with denim shorts and boots; this was the “poetic” lightness that Marant also mentioned. But they also tinkered with the styling by reducing the usual layering, and this lightness made the strongest statement of all.

Meanwhile, the airiest looks were grounded with clogs towering on pillared heels, a reminder that the mark of Marant is in the contrast, the clash. This played out elsewhere, too. Spot all the sleek swimsuit variations, often with the sides scooped out (incidentally, the designer is an avid swimmer). Now spot the tactile knits and embroidered denim including a two-piece look that was actually a very cool jumpsuit. For all the shorter silhouettes that swished, there were slinkier elongated dresses that were newer to the repertoire.

“We have our way of doing things and it’s very particular and very recognizable but it’s also always about bringing this into today’s silhouette,” said Marant.

The show reached its climax with some knockout evening designs, including a finely pleated knit dress in dazzling blue and an LBD that edged across the décolleté, swooped up the neck and around one shoulder. Here, sandal booties accentuated the allure, and the sandy gravel underfoot helped paint the picture of sultry nights by the sea. Those dresses looked easy to pack—yet another upside of lightness.

This article was originally published on Vogue Runway.

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