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Up-and-coming fashion talant Burc Akyol: "We manage to make magic out of very little"



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While the fashion world braced for the celeb juggernaut of Pharrell Williams's first show in Paris on Tuesday, a young designer was making his own modest splash with a debut below his own home.

Burc Akyol might not yet have the means to shut down the oldest bridge in Paris like Williams was doing for his Louis Vuitton show, but for fashionistas in the know, he is just as exciting a proposition.

The 34-year-old's first show as part of the official Paris Fashion Week roster continued his unique blend of Eastern and Western styles that has already seduced the likes of Cate Blanchett and Cardi B -- both of whom have worn his daring dress featuring two silver hands cupping their breasts.

"We're not Vuitton, but it doesn't matter, maybe we will be one day," Akyol told AFP as he put the final touches to the show.

For now, his Paris apartment doubles as his workshop, with a bedroom cluttered with designs.

His show took place, as did his previous ones, in the courtyard of his building in the 8th district of Paris.

"I find it important to bring my guests to my house, it's very homespun," he said.

"We manage to make magic out of very little," he added.

'Sovereignty over bodies'

One of his flagship dresses is an "all black, very simple lace," he said as an example.

"We just inserted gold threads into it to be able to make it something special and give it a second life."

Transparent with an integrated thong, it is worn by a model with curves that remain rare on the catwalk, especially for this kind of chic and sexy silhouette.

He also returned to the "burqa" look that he has introduced in the past seasons.

A play on his name, it is also a statement about women's rights, and features a transparent veil that covers the body from head to toe with tights as the only piece underneath.

Last season, he made a skirt out of hair as a way of referencing the women-led protests in Iran against enforced headscarves.

"I have sisters, I want them to have a fulfilled sex life, to be feminine, I want them to have sovereignty over their bodies," Akyol told AFP.

A fan of revealing slits and transparencies in his clothes, Akyol hates designs that are "in denial of the body".

Like many of his generation, he sees gender divisions in clothing as pointless and his collection is for both sexes.

He chose to present during menswear week because it is currently getting more attention, and is better timed for sales.

Very thin, he often wore women's trousers himself as a teenager and he now tries all the prototypes himself, including the bras.

"Clothing has no gender," he said.

'Desire for beauty'

Austere and sexy, Akyol's outfits reflect his mixed identity.

"I was born in France to Turkish parents. When I was outside my parents' apartment, I became French... and when I was home, I ate and lived like a Turk."

The son of a tailor, he grew up in public housing in Dreux, an hour outside Paris, with "many immigrants".

"We had a desire for beauty," he said.

He learned to sew at home where the whole family "patched clothes on Saturday nights while watching TV."

Though he grew his passion watching fashion shows on TV, he is happy things have moved online, which is more favourable to emerging talents.

"We're no longer forced to depend on the big media," he said.(AFP)

Burc Akyol
Paris Fashion Week