Lamine Badian Kouyaté is yearning for the joyful insouciance of the ’80s, when creative freedom reigned, fashion was full of fun, and he seized the zeitgeist to launch his label way before upcycling became a word.
An ongoing collaboration with choreographer Smaïl Kanouté and his work inspired by 16th century Black samurai Yasuke lent a Japanese aesthetic to the collection, including a long kimono in lightweight burgundy, pink and gold cotton sourced in Africa that was much-disputed by a group of Japanese buyers in his showroom.
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He hosted his presentation amid the jam-packed rails overflowing with color, forgoing the runway format despite the popularity of his exuberant shows since his 2020 return to the Paris calendar.
“The problem with doing a runway show is that it costs an arm and a leg,” bemoaned the jovial designer. “Do you know anyone who has a couple of million to invest?”
The Asian inspiration informed looks ranging from Lycra catsuits screen-printed in gold with umbrella patterns to a black denim trench with wave motifs, via multicolored lace leggings and tie-front crop tops with his signature red seams.
Alongside these hung a creative chaos of exuberant but barely there dresses stitched together from contrasting pairs of tights, stretch red tartan suiting, bomber jackets and T-shirts made from football shirts or rough-hewn fabrics sourced from flea markets and vintage stock, and plenty of red-seamed Lycra in black or neon animal prints perfect for the wild at heart.
Launch Gallery: Xuly Bët RTW Spring 2024
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