Free-form blobs made of felt scraps, tinfoil, dust bunnies, and butcher paper took center stage at Commes Des Garcons. WHAT on earth is going on in designer Rei Kawakubo‘s head?
To enter as a spectator is to be certain only that you’re going to be seeing her enacting something that is post-fashion—never about catching trends or flogging garments. Kawakubo disables the usual instruments by which we fash-judge. It’s anxiety-making and thrilling. You have to feel something—even if it’s that you are a blundering idiot, not understanding.
This is what happened for Fall 2017—the last collection that will make it into the Comme des Garçons exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum in May. A pair of women walked out, encased in large armless forms with bulbously sculptural curves made out of white wadding. First impression: They were wonkily exaggerated dress forms of the stock studio kind every designer drapes fabric on. Then came the stream of secondaries: the Venus de Milo, the Venus of Willendorf, snow women, women haplessly trapped in an outsize parody of the absurdity of female form.
One can overthink at a Comme des Garçons show. Truth be told, the mood never portended an ominous end-of-days scenario. The shapes that walked on next were bubbles made from synthetic silver insulation materials suggesting—perhaps—space-age travel, and after that, a giant white trench coat, the size of a small planet.
In the end, Kawakubo issued few words beyond the title of the collection, “The Future of Silhouette.” That seemed to confirm that she had indeed been meditating on the nature of fashion itself, its processes, and where it might go next. Few are the designers big enough to challenge the audience to think and feel like Kawakubo does.
Brilliant. I would so rock any one of these.
Photos Pacific Coast News