It had been four years since this reviewer last covered an Ottolinger show—although, for obvious reasons, people are opting to gloss over a solid portion of that time. Christa Bösch and Cosima Gadient seem entirely unchanged as co-designers; and to some degree, the same could be said of their Berlin-based label. It remains a body-positive expression of subversive femininity enriched with energetic color and craft. Theirs is the type of multi-faceted clothing that mashes up ’90s music videos, sci-fi source material and the gaming universe today.

Yet they have also grown on several levels. Ottolinger’s ongoing collaboration with Puma has been great for visibility. Yesterday, a silver truck wrapped in a giant red bow was parked in the Marais as a pop-up selling the brand’s silver and gold-foiled sneaker boots. And watching a diverse phalanx of gals arriving to the show in the printed bodysuits or carrying the irregularly shaped bags suggested that what Bösch and Gadient create is, in fact, wearable for those who dare.

And with this collection, they proved that their fierce self-expression and nightlife-centric fashion can also appear elevated. “We’ve been tweaking it,” said Bösch after a show that pulsed with jungle beats by an artist named Crystallmess.

First, there were looks in linen knit—cowling, clingy and cutout tops with pants seductively rolled down at the waistband. The single-sleeved gauzy dress in a soft shade of sand was especially enticing. Next up was denim, an Ottolinger standby; only this time, it came with a contrast flocked pattern creeping up the legs. There was tattered and deconstructed tailoring that seemingly gave the finger to corporate attire. And there were printed bodysuits, some with trompe l’oeil men’s suits, others with cyborg anatomy (add a single silver lens to the eyes, paint the brow white and the transformation is complete).

But the designers really showed their alt ingenuity with the five final looks in a bridal vein—romantic and delicately embellished creations that veered away from traditional. The silhouettes were pulled apart, coolly unconstrained and offset with black bandeau bras and boy shorts. “We go to weddings and always feel they need an edge,” said Bösch.

Today’s venue was an old bank branch occupying a corner between the grands magasins and the Paris Opéra, which was customized by having the windows sprayed and tagged with graffiti, as though bringing a slice of Kreuzberg to the Boulevard Haussmann. At one point, someone on the outside started scratching away at the paint just enough to see into what Gadient called, “the Ottolinger world, our own world.” It’s an asymmetric place of shredded surfaces, and scrappy layering that somehow achieves an equilibrium. Certainly, it’s a world where you can’t look away.

This article was originally published on Vogue Runway.

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