When the first look came out on the Comme des Garcons catwalk it was hard not to think back to designer Rei Kawakubo’s flat collection from two years ago. Then it was all about crafting clothing on a 2-D plan, this time the designer took it up one D and went full throttle into the world of 3-D design.
This was a collection all about volume. From the hula-hoop dresses strung up with gold chains and those crafted out of abstract plastic shapes puffed out with – could it be- air to ones that looked like body harnesses stuffed full of ruffled fabric or tops with holes cut in them to let thick cascading fabric pore out.
The models, their lips stained to look as if they had been eating black berries and then wiped their mouths in a hurry and their hair tied up in stiff ribbons to like a dreadlock version of Pippi Longstocking braids, took to a curving wood catwalk set up above the audience. Forcing them to gaze up at Kawakubo’s idiosyncratic collection.
Each look had its own particular, often a bit creepy, musical accompaniment. As if to separate and single out each garment as having its one individual message, and not to view it as part of the underlying collection or theme. And it’s true that there was very little, other than the exploration of volume that linked this cerebral collection together. One ruffled pink outfit in a loud floral motif that featured an oversized teddy bear attached at the front in the same fabric looked to be referencing the innocence of a child. Another with curving cutout side and a pair of linking Cs in the center popped the idea of some sort of dig at Chanel into the mind. And one voluminous harness dress strangely conjured up images of a moon landing pod.
And maybe that is exactly what Kawakubo was trying to accomplish with this collection. Force each and every person in the audience to give the ensembles a backstory that said as much about them as it did the clothing the designer put on the catwalk. A sartorial self examination if you will.