COMME DES GARCONS
It’s the hallmark of a great fashion designer or artist to know when to move on from one’s own creations and try to make something different–getting out of one’s own cocoon is often the hardest thing to do.
But late last Friday afternoon, in the basement of the sumptuous Hôtel Salomon de Rothschild, Rei Kawakubo presented a men’s collection that was simpler and streamlined than what she has presented in the past. The familiar Homme Plus silhouettes of the past few seasons–the Marc Jacobs’ favored shirt dresses and heavy layering–gave way to basically three garments: Long slim coats, shirts with small collars, and basic easy pants with a pajama vibe. The elongated staples, like biker coats and hoodies, will surely be among next spring’s best-sellers.
Despite the models’ brightly dyed orange hair, the styling and accessories were subtle: there were steel studded headbands and red tartans. But these nods to the era between beatnik and early punk were mere decorations rather than the main design focus.
The staging of the show was a puzzle at first. On the floor of the runway was a large rectangular grid divided into four sections of raised steel bars. Many of the models had to slow their walk or come to a complete stop when they approached the beams and either step over the bars or onto the bars to proceed forward. Is the designer saying allegorically that in fashion one has to watch one’s own steps and that to look ahead, one has to step over one’s own boundaries? At a Comme des Garçons show, anything is possible.