Disco dilettantes, fur balls and Sam Smith at Christian Cowan’s first Paris show

Enter the American Cathedral of Paris, where Cambridge-born, New York-based designer Christian Cowan staged his first show in the French capital. Under the 19th century church’s vault, artificial fog lingered in the air and blood-red lights beamed upon front row guests, which included cool-girl DJ Ally Space and a flurry of influencer habitués. As for the floor? It was covered in anthracite grey and matted fake fur.

Christian Cowan – Spring-Summer2024 – Womenswear – France – Paris – © Launchmetrics

 
One can trust that Cowan’s Spring/Summer 2024 girl doesn’t wait in line at nightclubs – she knows who works every door in the city. Models strutted to the blasting of techno tunes wearing black, buckled patent combat boots and plunging V-neck mini-dresses, or what is expected to be typical late night attire.

Cowan introduced two distinctive party girls for next season, and we encountered a downtown club rat sharing the catwalk (or was it a dancefloor?) with an old money socialite. If skimpy, sequined dresses and cone-shaped bras adorned with crystals were au rendez-vous in this temple of fête, so were long satin, fur-lined gowns, in black or amethyst. Giant camellias also came to decorate the shoulder on a soft pink tweed suit, or took the form of a jean halter top or miniskirt.

Cowan has been hinting at fur being a thematic for his Paris show, posting photos of a mega fur ball with the Eiffel Tower as a backdrop and a fluffy pelage covering a baguette on the brand’s Instagram days before the event. And we can confirm that the faux fur was indeed the star of the show, taking the shape of a long white coat thrown over the shoulder, a low-cut crop top or a jet black pantsuit. It even oozed through the details, lining the hems of skirts and frocks. But the pièce de résistance must’ve have been the giant fur balls worn as outfits of their own, enclosing the models from their neck down to their thighs.

Christian Cowan – Spring-Summer2024 – Womenswear – France – Paris – © Launchmetrics

The wedding dress itself was a massive ivory sphere of the synthetic material, to which was attached a floating white trail. A model dressed as a disco ball also mimicked the same shape and dazzled her way onto the runway.

Sam Smith – who happens to be Cowan’s rumored boyfriend – made his long-awaited (it had been advertised in a press release weeks before) appearance mid-show, draped in an inky faux fur cape and perched atop a rotating platform. The multi award-winning artist, whose song Stay With Me won the Grammy for Song of the Year back in 2015, performed a tribute to LGBTQIA+ icon and lead singer of 1980’s pop band Dead or Alive Pete Burns by singing the hit song, You Spin Me Round. His voice was pure and crystal clear, contrasting with the cacophonous remix of the backing track that kept the models walking within tempo. As he sashayed off the catwalk, a dancer crawled behind him on a leash.

From party girls to party furry animals, it seems that Cowan’s long-standing taste for theatrics isn’t ready to come to a halt anytime soon. And to that, within the American Cathedral’s carmine-lighted halls, we say amen.

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