Purple Fashion

[October 1 2018]

Comme des Garçons S/S show at Beaux-Arts, Paris

To attend a Comme des Garçons presentation is always something quite unique during the busy week of collections. After all, Rei Kawakubo is herself a one-of-a-kind designer who always deploys interesting thoughts through clothing. Today she took her audience to the Palais des Etudes of Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Since space is an extremely important element in Kawakubo’s work, within this classical architecture she built her own—a small, open-air box in gray plywood—to quietly lay down a spring 2019 collection that reflects mostly on the passage of time.

Her first model—an aging pregnant woman with a prominent prosthesis belly—sets the tone right away. This collection is about lineage in its most formal way. All the models have gray hair, and their bodies are deformed by a variety of experimental implants. The silhouette is black, but vibrates with touches of grays and whites. This monolithic feeling of color is animated by the diversity of shapes—asymmetric, tied, oversized—and materials: jacquard, feather, pearl-drop. The rhythm is slow, and heaviness is felt in the air. A few models even carry heavy chains as accessories around their body, which create odd sounds over the music—a range of American standards. Finally, continuance in time and abstraction in history are both concepts that surface in the mind through the passage of the models.

Hybrid Renaissance could be the title of this well-done, and maybe most personal collection of Comme des Garçons, and with it, Rei Kawakubo continues to affirm her unique position in and meaningful engagement with the history of fashion.

Text Dorothée Perret and photo Alessandra Padovani

See our coverage of Paris Women’s S/S 2019

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