Comme des Garcons AW20
Rei Kawakubo said her latest collection for Comme des Garcons Homme Plus was about joy, maximalism and resistance.
Photography Mitchell Sams
One of the best things about a Comme des Garçons show is the people-watching. The denizens of the Japanese brand are almost always dressed in black, in shapes that are akin to sculpture, clothes that make the eye linger and travel to unexpected points of the body. When Comme des Garçons first arrived in Paris in the 70s, its loyal following were described as “crows” for their enveloping silhouettes in mourning shades. So it was funny watching such a colourful outing from Rei Kawakubo appear amid an ocean of black, like an unexpected jolt of humour and optimism at a funeral. Even the most concrete-faced fashion editors couldn’t help but smile.
Rei Kawakubo’s latest Homme Plus menswear collection had an excess of kitsch colour and print, everything loud and bright and clashing. Children’s television presenters in intricately draped, panelled blazers and wide-leg shorts. The models — wearing questionably braided wigs — came out in groups, swirling around each other up and down the plywood catwalk. It’s always fun when fashion shows aren’t just models galloping up and down. Even more fun when they’re wearing necklaces with Lil Kim-esque wigs dangling on their chests.
“Colour resistance — fighting back with colour,” was Rei’s single-sentence explanation this season. But fighting against what exactly? It seems a bit rudimentary to make the ‘colourful clothes in dark times’ argument, and designer is far too reticent to explain any further. It seemed like many of the clothes were spliced together from fabrics used in previous collections — pinstripe, neon leopard, tartan — so that the collaged tailoring resembled patchworks of offcut fabrics gathered from the cutting-room floor. Perhaps this was about reusing and recycling, the ultimate resistance to the burning issue of fashion’s colossal waste and its impact on the planet. One can only hope.