Fournie worships witches, ‘the original feminists’ in a gothic couture show

French designer Julien Fournie hailed witches
as proto-feminist trailblazers who sent shivers through the patriarchy as he
staged his Paris haute couture show in a church on Tuesday.

The flamboyant couturier who believes that women should learn to love their
curves, and knows how to make the best of them, sent out a run of models of
all ages and shapes in corsets, killer heels and hip-hugging skirts.

Calling his collection “First Spell”, he said he took his inspiration from
witches who “knew how to control their destiny”.

Women “can be beautiful at any age”, he told AFP.

“Men have always wanted to strangle women’s destiny and emancipation. We
can no longer accept that,” he added, railing against the recent passing of
restrictive abortion laws by some states in the US.

“I have always found witches stimulating,” Fournie said.

“Haute couture and magic share a taste for accumulated experience and
tricks of the trade. Official education often does not appreciate this kind of
knowledge,” said the designer, who studied anatomy and trained as a doctor
before finding his true passion in fashion.

Feminism is here to stay

Fournie transformed a Protestant church in a chic street in central Paris
into a catwalk, with fashionistas huddled on wooden pews.

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They watched a mix of striking silhouettes and gothic noir,
padded-shouldered military jackets paraded alongside billowing Edwardian
skirts, with Fournie encouraging his models to flounce, twirl and show their
personalities to the cameras.

As the spectacle drew to a close, paper snowflakes appeared to fall from
the heavens as the designer emerged from backstage to dance with a woman in a
corseted wedding dress.

The French creator’s show came the day after female creators dominated the
Paris catwalks, with Dior’s staunchly feminist designer Maria Grazia Chiuri
taking the bold step of ditching heels in favour of elasticated spartan

Fournie said fashion’s feminism moment was no passing fad.
“We’re living in a time of truth, of freedom, of ‘Expose your pig’,” he
declared, slapping the wall for emphasis.

#MeToo movement reaches France

The #Balancetonporc (Call out your pig) social media campaign, dubbed
“France’s #MeToo”, has touched a nerve in a country that has long been seen as
too soft on sexual harassment.

Fournie is one of the elite band of haute couture designers who are allowed
to show their handmade creations in the French capital.

He served his time at iconic French houses including Dior, Givenchy and
Nina Ricci before launching his eponymous label in 2009.

Haute couture shows only happen in Paris, with some of the world’s richest
women paying thousands to be dressed by the little more than a dozen designers
who are allowed to use the label under French law.

“You don’t come to me just to buy a dress, you come to buy your own style,”
Fournie said of haute couture.(AFP)

Photos: Julien Fournie AW19,

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