So what do you think of Comme des Garcons’ latest collection from Paris fashion week? Okay, I agree that’s it’s virtually unwearable unless you’re a) super-rich and b) planning on never sitting down. However, when it comes to Comme des Garcons and Rei Kawakubo, if you love it or hate it, it certainly does get people talking.

I think what I really love about CdG now that we’re firmly out of the 1990s black and white era that’s my personal favourite (see also: Yohji Yamamoto), is that the designs really blur the lines between fashion, art and social commentary. One of my favourite aspects of the Comme des Garcons philosophy, if you can truly call it a philosophy, is that as a woman you don’t have to be beautiful or cute or pretty. You can look amazing and dangerous and interesting and yes, certainly beautiful if you want to. I could go off on a huge tangent here about being a foreign woman in Japan, but I’ll save that for another day!

It’s taken me a little while to get my head around this current autumn/winter collection from Comme des Garcons, but now I’ve had time to process I’m really enjoying it. This was an amazing feat of two-dimensional imagery, and the pattern cutters must have had their work cut out (pun kind of intended…). It was all about the flat: flat shapes, flat colours and flat patterns. In today’s fashion world we take things at face value: thanks to the internet we have access to all the catwalk shows, all the look-books and photo-shoots, but it’s just on screen. I consider myself incredibly lucky to live in Tokyo and be able to attend Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Tokyo and even just pop to a department store like La Foret or 109 and see the clothing in person – it’s honestly a dream come true for Japanese fashion nerd like me. I think websites like tumblr and nowfashion (both of which we enjoy hugely) have really changed the way we consume fashion: instead of pouring over a glossy magazine that was released only once a month, we now have live access and infinite scrolling. While I do think it’s amazing and wonderful, I think it also leads to rapid consumption in that it’s all to easy to skip past something that you don’t immediately ‘get’, and focus purely on passive instant attraction to the two-dimensional photographs.

Of course, Tokyo Telephone is part of this new type of fashion media, and this 2D aspect has been weighing heavily on our minds lately – trust Rei Kawakubo to breathe life into our worries and send them down the catwalk… I don’t want to say too much more about this collection as I think part of the beauty of it is that you can interpret Comme des Garcons in a very personal way. As always, feel free to leave your own opinions in the comments!

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8 Responses to Comme des Garcons – Two – Dimensional Fashion – A/W 2012

  1. brad-t says:

    I find the collection to be interesting, but it doesn’t do a whole lot for me since I am more interested in wearable clothing than fashion-as-concept type shows. Your commentary on 2D fashion, however, is marvelous.

  2. Rebecca says:

    @ Brad – I think that’s officially the first time that anyone’s ever called anything I’ve done marvellous! 😮

    I’ve been thinking a lot recently about this kind of tumblr-like new wave of very flat media consumption. It’s very easy to scroll past a photo-shoot without really considering the model, photographer, designer, make-up artist, editor, and the original intention and concept behind it – not to mention all the hours that went in to commissioning and eventually printing it, then the scanning, uploading, tagging aspect too. And it’s just gone in one second… Kind of sad when you think about it!

  3. brad-t says:

    What’s more sad to me is that it is really impossible to fully appreciate clothes in photos. Clothing is a very three-dimensional and tactile thing. I think this is what allows shops like YesStyle to survive — if people were really able to see how bad these clothes look and feel in person before ordering, compared to higher price items, I think people would be more careful with their money.

    For those of us living outside Japan, sadly, aside from the items we buy ourselves it is basically 2D consumption.

  4. Andrew says:

    I’d like to just say that the fact that this has been brought up and discussed here has me thinking more about the three-dimensional shape and feel of the clothes I’m viewing (currently your post on Yohji’s women’s aw12).

  5. Rebecca says:

    @ Brad – I think it’s a really interesting situation to be in, and perhaps lolita fashion is a good example of people not ‘getting it’ until they see an item of brand clothing in person…

    How do you feel about being a 2D consumer?

  6. Rebecca says:

    @ Andrew – Let me know what you think, I’d love to hear it! 🙂

  7. Andrew says:

    @ Rebecca

    Haha well, might as well just continue the discussion here? I guess just looking at the Yohji collection really brought home for me the 2d nature of the photos that was brought up and discussed in this post. Looking at the collection now, I just see so much volume, but I really did not notice it so much the first time I looked through it, even though now it seems ridiculous to me that I wouldn’t see it. Even the skirt you pictured has tons of texture to it, but I think because the picture just shows it straight on, it’s easy to not notice it.

  8. Rebecca says:

    @ Andrew – Great observations! Yeah, I’d love to be able to get more side/back photos, but generally it’s just not possible – the photographers are all at the end of the runway, and as press you’re kind of side-on and the lighting etc doesn’t always make for good quick shots.
    I think this is one of the main reasons I prefer installations and exhibitions to catwalk shows: you can get up close and personal with the clothes! 🙂

    There’s a post on a costume designer coming out on Monday – I think you might like his thoughts on ‘unwearable clothes’…

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