Fashionista contributor Long Nguyen is the co-founder/style director of Flaunt.
Enclosed in the envelope with the invitation to the Comme des Garçons show last Saturday afternoon, which took place inside a small hall at the Hôtel de la Monnaie, was a small printed card. “Comme des Garçons will have extremely limited seating this season. This is Kawakubo’s design; please kindly understand that your regular seat will not be possible. Thank you.”
And so it was: At the show, there were only two small bleachers and two rows of chairs, which formed a square for the models to traverse perpendicularly to and from one corner.
At any Comme des Garçons show, it is always the fashion that matters, not the hierarchy. It was ironic that a note was sent to the few people invited asking them, in essence, to temporarily suspend their habits. By the time the sound of footsteps on the wooden bleachers ceased and the first model walked out in a long, shiny, black python print trench--without any back but instead tied together at the shoulder--the audience knew they were in for a fashion treat.
With Comme des Garçons, you are always confronted with the physicality of clothes--a single garment can be a maze on its own--and what they can mean.
Behind the matching and mismatching of different parts of clothes was the notion of hybrid fashion. That meant half of a single-breasted jacket combined with part of a sleeve and a collar made from tying fabrics into round knots.
It also meant half of a short trench coat with cotton balls embroidered in the front. Or a black double breasted jacket-trench-dress. Like modern hybrid cars, where energy is derived from a combination of a gas engine and an electric motor, each garment here is a combination of elements, some signature from Comme des Garçons’ own heritage: the brand started in 1969. The vintage scarf dresses and the cotton tied knots recalled a controversial Spring 1997 collection of lumps and bumps. One of the show’s outstanding looks was a coat/dress made from part of a yellow jacket, as well as a garment with pieces of shirt, dress, and jacket sewn together with black striped ribbons.
There is an element of perverted sexiness--a rare accolade for any Comme des Garçons collection--to a series of jacquard black wool jackets belted around the waist and a sheer sheath tank with a scarf print sleeve, worn with matching hot pants trimmed in satin ribbons.
Because Comme des Garçons' business is in the clothing collection and not accessories, most of these show looks will be at the stores this coming July, when the brand sends out their regular mailings. These mailings, which arrive in numbered envelopes, include commissioned artwork printed on glossy paper and simply announce the company's news, such as the introduction of a collection or a store opening.
At the showroom on Place Vendôme the day after the show, I saw buyers with racks of showpieces by their desks. **All images: Imaxtree.