From the cold rays of a telephone screen to the radiance of the heart, Courrèges’ Fall-Winter 2023 collection is staged as a ceremony of light and enlightenment which unveils the inner workings of its ever-evolving wardrobe. An exercise in holistic realism, it conjures a space where rites meet routines in a reflective journey to unleash one’s inner light.

In the twilight of la Sorbonne’s boxed-out library, the familiar voice of an AI bot breaks the rumor of a busy street. ‘Is the sky blue?’ it riddles, as a cube of smoke slithers behind back-lit figures. This dreamy runway space was designed by artist Rémy Brière in collaboration with Matière Noire – a collective known for its ability to craft the immaterial into interactive objects of technical wonder. This season again, a taming of natural forces – of light, fog, air – perpetuates a surreal, almost dystopian, vision of nature which mirrors the spiritual evolutions of Di Felice’s visual narrative.

The collection emerged from the curved stance of a body cloaked over a screen. Derived from the Spring-Summer 2023 co-ed pre-collection, this gesture structures the shape of daywear archetypes – a jean jacket, a pin-striped suit coat, a shearling blouson – projecting their volume outward to shield the body from the world. The collection explores hybridization in its most ceremonial form, embedding brass jewelry in necklines and waistbands, parabolic brass pendants harnessing the pleated volumes of draped jersey. As the orchestra of violins and alt-rock drums hasten the pace, a procession of column-like tunics evoke religious dress. Flashes of open backs, navel cut-outs and whispers of sheer technical nylon offer a romantic unveiling, protecting then exposing the body as the story progresses.

The crescendo score was composed by Sene and Nicolas Di Felice to guide us through the storm. Its combination of digital and analog interpretations and its cross-cultural references discuss themes of triviality and communion, disguising a pop anthem in New-Age mantras.

The collection and its theatrical setting compel our gaze to move upwards, to open its perspective to our presence in the world. In its motion, the body is free to gradually undress, to assert, to expand. In the stillness of that moment, the procession of mirrors on beating hearts becomes a beacon of self-realization, an eclipse glowing in the gloom, lighting the way to the Other within ourselves – ‘Through the dark, through the smoke and mirrors, I see you’.