Ah, Paris! I know I’m a little late with this post, but I feel that it’s always better late that never when it comes to runway shows – especially as the clothing featured won’t even make it in to the shops for another six months or so. Over the past few years I’ve somehow managed to develop a fear of flying, and at this point I think that pretty much the only thing that could get me on a plane away from Tokyo would be seeing my favourite Japanese brands up close and personal in Paris. Well, for now I guess sighing and pawing at the laptop screen will have to do…
How do I love thee, Garcons? Let me count the ways…
Titled “The Infinity of Tailoring”, this collection was everything I love about Kawakubo’s designs, and more. I’ve having real trouble restraining myself from simply mashing the keyboard and using far too many exclamation points here. Following on from last year’s “Crushing” collection (pun alert: yes, I did have a major crush on it!), Comme des Garcons returned to the idea of the suit, the traditional symbol of Western tailoring, and managed to turn the idea on it’s head yet again. Models wore pinstripe, houndstooth and lace creations with giant tucked and pleated arms and extra layers, lending a heavy femininity to to the usually stark and simple masculine form – I’m a particular fan of the burgundy velvet version on the right.
The latter half of the show was an incredible, literally eye-popping, spectacle of colour. Adding to the already twisted, ballooned and blanketed suits, Kawakubo and her team plumped for rainbow glitched patterns that added an extra layer of complexity to the designs – tailoring through colour was also seen at Anrealage, who we do hope will one day take their rightful place in conceptual fashion next to Comme des Garcons.
I couldn’t help but be reminded of Tokyo Telephone favourite Umelabo and his glitch graphics:
An overdue and very welcome return to the catwalk, if ever there was. This is quite a difficult collection to talk about, as the image on the left shows a coast that really very strongly reminds me of my favourite film, and also I keep getting distracted by the cat bags – clearly the logical conclusion to the cat bag trend that’s been doing the rounds for the past year in Tokyo.
Bringing out his bestial punk side, Takahashi’s masked rabbits and cats did well to dispel the otherwise cute image these animals often have in fashion – kawaii this really isn’t, and it’s all the better for it. Alongside this were body-organic imagery, loops of strung from a deconstructed corset and a lovely ribcage design on a purple velvet jacket. Undercover managed to uncover the surrealism of alternative fashion, and create fetishistic lingerie that more than hinted at the intestines and cadaver underneath.
Rounding off this mini catch-up has to be Yohji Yamamoto – a man who never disappoints, even when it’s an unexpected collection, such as this. Explaining after the runway presentation that he had no set theme in mind (something for future fashion students to consider?), Yamamoto’s clothing might have felt confused and rambling to outsiders, but this is of course the master of design, and so it was a charming glimpse into the mind of the man.
While fans of Yamamoto’s dark and oversized creations might have winced a little at the bright and tight knitwear, this was closely followed by some of the most stunning suits to hit the catwalk – with cropped flared trousers and double breasted jackets, I can’t wait to see this styled and in store later this year. If we needed another example of his supreme skills, Yamamoto also produced a few 3D folded dresses, a stark contrast to much of the rest of the collection, like a perfect miniature sketch by Da Vinci – an afterthought almost, showing true genius.