Why Are They Famous: Paco Rabanne
Sunday 25 July 1999
Wacko Rabanne, hey, cr-a-a-a-zy fashion designer. Now better known for aftershave and mystic spoutings than for frocks, our hero was once the cutting edge of Sixties fashion. But what was once crackingly avant-garde now veers between the commonplace and the passe. Hence Paco has branched out a little. He pens, er, books, with titles such as Celtic Heritage and End of Time, and is variously known as a Dadaist, astrologer, author and mystic. Latest headline-grabbing kerfuffle concerns Princess Cool Britannia herself, Miss Stella McCartney. In a churlish fit of pique, Rabanne has labelled the well-connected one "grotesque and pitiful". Our protagonist continues: "What she does isn't fashion, it's just image marketing." Scandal, sweetie.
Grizzled ex-monk given to strumming obscure instruments. Gruff, Greek fisherman who spins a nice line in philosophy and mullet nets. Hemingway's lesser-known cousin. Mumbling Maoist.
Aged seven, he went on an astral journey and discovered he had lived past lives. He fled Spanish Basque country to France and studied architecture before making buttons for Balenciaga. His first design collection was named "12 Unwearable Dresses", and was followed by the requisite adulation and outrage. For many years, Rabanne's Pour Homme aftershave was the best-selling men's scent in the world. He now lives in rented accommodation, gives away much of his money, and refuses to comment on his sexual proclivities.
Rabanne is given to spouting somewhat embarrassing pre-millennial burblings. He has been a flying saucer pilot, an 18th-century hooker, a torturer and a priest responsible for the murder of Tutankhamun. "A huge asteroid will be heading straight for the Earth" - thus spake, er, Paco Rabanne. Our soothsayer's tomes do sell rather well in France, however.
The thoughts of Paco Rabanne might be one stonking postmodernist joke. But then again, probably not. Fame's not so hard to get when you know which buttons to press. Expect further barking burblings.
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