Courtesy of Casablanca

Casablanca places a bet on better days for AW21

The Parisian luxury label brings you Monaco’s casino chic and Grand Prix glamour this season, along with its most expansive womenswear offering yet.

by Mahoro Seward
23 January 2021, 6:29pm

Courtesy of Casablanca

God, don’t you wish we could all just be somewhere with sea and sun; where the cars drive fast and the pace of life is slow; where glamour isn’t a look, but a way of life? Somewhere like, I dunno, Monaco? Well, my dears, consider Casablanca’s AW21 collection, Grand Prix, an answer to your prayers.  

Since first appearing on the fashion circuit in AW19, the Parisian luxury label has been spreading its optimistic philosophy of Idéalisme -- French for living your best damn life, right here, right now -- transporting its audiences to times and places synonymous with a sense of aspirational luxury and style. Ipanema’s bossa nova heyday, the Italian Alps and Hawaii, to name a few.


Anyway, this season, it’s to Monaco in all its 60s glory -- in mind and spirit, if not in body. “We wanted to create a story around the fantasy of Monaco; the casino and the Grand Prix,” Charaf explains. “One of the most important things for us this season was to blend the idea of extreme sports with extreme luxury. Formula One is a sport that is very aggressive; very mechanical and very masculine. We wanted to contrast that with the femininity and glamour of Monaco, to bring together sexiness and automotive sport.”


As ever with Casablanca, a key vehicle for the message are saturated prints, albeit this time with a harder, more geometric feel than what we’ve seen before. The F1 checkerboard flag, for example, is translated to lozenge patterns on sleek long-sleeved mini-dresses, sports jackets, and Jackie O skirt suits, while the drivers’ branded racing suits become Casablanca-logoed silk dresses and shirts. Homage to the principality’s celebrated den of vice, Le Casino de Monte Carlo, is paid in the form of quilted satin coats printed with glamorous vignettes of dice, cards and roulette wheels, and playing card suit motifs decorate red-carpet-worthy column dresses and dapper wool tailoring. 


If you count yourself among Casablanca’s legion of disciples, you may have noticed a far fuller offering of womenswear than what we’ve seen before, even extending to luggage, bamboo-handled leather bags and silk foulards. Indeed, out of this season’s close to 80 looks, roughly 50 are womenswear. “We have a lot of women who wear Casablanca menswear, so it was a normal evolution,” Charaf shares. Still, for a brand that first attracted attention for its vibrant menswear, such a significant change of tide is hardly one you’d expect. “I'm also surprised that it's come so early on, but it just happened naturally due to the demand, as well as due to the excitement around challenging ourselves in the studio.”


Make no mistake -- this is not a collection for shrinking violets. But, frankly, now is not the time for fashion that’s overly demure. What we need are reminders of those halcyon days of parties, glamour and fun, and with this collection, Charaf has given us just that. That’s the message at the heart of the collection’s film, too, which tells “the story after the race, which is where the magic happens,” he says. “Imagine that team Casablanca won the Grand Prix -- this is how we would do the afterparty. We're dreaming of coming back to partying and being able to celebrate all together." Save up your pennies, girls -- once this mess is all over, we’re going to Monaco, and Casablanca is what we shall wear!

Paris Fashion Week