Fashionista contributor Long Nguyen is the co-founder/style director of Flaunt.
PARIS–Halle Freyssenit, an old train freight located behind the Gare Austerlitz in Paris’ 13th arrondissement, is a popular destination this season for Paris shows.
But only a handful were invited to the depot, an empty storage area on the other side near the rail tracks, late Saturday afternoon for Comme des Garçons. Inside were four sets of benches set in a square and two large white lights. Eschewing conventional locations to stage its shows has always been the brand’s trademark of independence.
The audience members attending a Comme des Garçons presentation expect deliverance from yet another conventional fashion show. Whether or not they actual like what they see depends on one’s personal taste. But without fail, a CDG show always provokes a thoughtful debate.
When the first model emerged from the back, wearing a shiny short black dress belted at the waist and a shawl made of the front part of an upside down black trench, the notion of the integrity of a specific garment was put into question. Is part of a coat another coat, or is it a scarf?
This idea of disintegration became more apparent from the merging of two coats in two fabrics into one coat, albeit all upside down with sleeves hanging towards the floor. The recombined garment seemed genderless and we could not classify it in our current system of jackets, coats, skirts, or pants.
I kept thinking of the idea of an atom smashing, like the recent advances with the Large Hadron Collider at CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research), as I watch a model wearing a combination of two jackets with multiple lapels,and white shirts mixed with a black skirt, white corset and t-shirt. There sure is a great deal of excess material in these outfits. Somehow, the feel of this weight weakened the show’s central message.
Towards the end of the show, the models came out wearing white simple double-breasted cotton skirt-suits with a black band inserted through the jackets. One version held the model’s arm to her side. On another, the band completely enveloped the entire chest rendering model’s arms immobile. It seemed Ms. Kawakubo was commenting on how restricting the fashion system can be.
In the end, as if to play a joke, three sets of models came out wearing identical black dresses walking in synchrony, attached by zippers and their hair twisted into one long connected knot. Is it a merged outfit or a coming together of two people?
While this may not be another groundbreaking collection from Ms. Kawakubo, her fans need not fear as they have plenty of clothes to choose from. Surely the white double-breasted asymmetrical jackets and those white skirt suits–without the constriction bands–will be a hit at retail come fall.