One could question the location Rei Kawakubo chose this season to present her Comme desGarçons Fall/Winter 2019/2020 collection. She picked the hall of a neoclassical building on rue Cambon—though not the famous number 29! As always, Kawakubo intervenes with the space. Here she created a stage from the marble flooring, overlaid with strips of red-passé carpet. This small arena is enclosed by a few rows of benches and six long, lighted perches—the same machines that will later follow each model in an idiosyncratic ballet, giving the set a futuristic twist. As usual, the assembly is small, but one should know Kawakubo is not here to convince a large audience, but rather one that focuses.
Silence. The show is about to start. The lights turn off, the room is dark, and the ambiance feels quite enigmatic. Rei Kawakubo holds her crowd in a meditative state for one minute of silence. Strangely, this minute feels like eternity—long enough to understand the roles that gravity and magnitude play in this collection. Finally the show starts, with a discontinuous soundtrack from the back. One by one each model comes out to follow the patch of a square—making sure to pass by every corner—and meet at the center. Yet we feel a sense of disorder on stage, and in the air.
The ambiance is austere: each silhouette is uniquely worked with fastidious details and crafted in a range of solid black materials that echo throughout the space like shadows of knights stepping out of the nightfall. This season, Kawakubo envelops her women in a voluminous armor, dark and rigid. The collection recalls medieval and ecclesiastical themes reinterpreted in a raw couture spirit. One purple garment questions signs of royalty. As always, Kawakubo dazzles with radical strength and bold engagement.
Dover Street Market Los Angeles is open for business.
“It’s really sad and somewhat annoying to read that the future of retail is online. Don’t get me wrong, our e-shops are doing incredibly well and are becoming a very important part of the business. But, ultimately, we’d like them to stay as a kind of service for people who are not near a Dover Street Market, or who need a reorder.
“DSM is a family, and a family that doesn’t meet and touch and talk and exchange is not a family that can grow and evolve in a healthy way.” — Adrian Joffe, Comme des Garçons CEO*
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 the 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.