Rei Kawakubo seemed to be recounting the turmoil of a lost generation in her Comme des Garcons Homme Plus S/S 2013 show held us part of Paris Fashion Week. Her young models were clad in the tired images of youthful rebellion – tartan, camouflage, animal print and shiny glam fabrics, but had those layers obscured to a man by long outer layers that went beyond the knee and billowed like frock coats. It told a tale of a generation who have no mouthpiece to voice their angst, clinging instead to the safety pins in ears and studs of their parents generation, but it was not a wholly negative account, the models had to step over a grid of bars to make their way down the catwalk, a metaphor perhaps for struggle, or merely that it is a generation broken down by the obstacles placed in their way.
I am siding with the former (although you are free to think whatever you will) and I like to think of it as a collection that shows the spirit of rebellion will never die, especially when coupled with the soundtrack of Black Sabbath’s Iron Man, a song about a mute robot unable to warn society of its own impending destruction. Either way, however you want to read this is up to you, and that is exactly half the fun of a good Comme des Garcons collection – it presents itself as a puzzle with no answer, and the joy comes in the interpretation or lack thereof. For example, I have completely skipped over the monobrows and red hair (perhaps a reference to Ziggy Stardust, perhaps a joke about trend forecasters tipping the colour), and others have said that this collection presents rockstars as modern day kings. Lord knows that Rei will not give us an easy answer to those questions, so for now, I advise you to ignore everything I have said thus far and make up your own mind. The real revolution of Comme des Garcons is afterall, giving power to the wearer and the wearer alone – enjoy:
For the finale of the show the models all emerged without their binding outer layers and with an easy swagger compared to their deliberately stilted walks that they began the show with. A positive end, and a rare moment of fashion clarity from the brand that showcased in a flash easy summer coordinates that can slot into anyone’s wardrobe, a reminder from Rei that this is about selling clothes and not the art of the show itself.