Boy to man, young to old, was correctly and refreshingly represented in yesterday’s Homme Plus collection. It seemed to come in three acts, life the stages of life; youth, adulthood and old age/death. Act I was of innocence, experimentation and relaxation. The black leather Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny baseball caps worn to the side; playful and daring, over long, Goldilocks hair juxtaposed both innocence and experimentation. The hat is also a perceptive change in both mind and on the body, as wearing this hat turned the look mischievous but without it, shown in the following looks, innocence reigned. Could that represent the versatility of youth? Surely so. Mrs. Kawakubo is very witty in her designs and also metaphorical; everything means something. A lot of the widely identifiable adolescent feeling of wanting to be older than your years, just so you can do what they do was in the oversized shirts and trousers.
The bright psychedelic (60’s?) printed chenille blazers and coats was the main bearer of the innocent theme aided by the pale shirts and sweatpants, soft and easy that made the jackets stand out even more. The tassels that trimmed the jackets were literal, like children’s thoughts. Britishness or perhaps regal history was implied in the subversion of these flamboyant, precious fabrics. This is similar of Mrs. Kawakubo’s SS13 (scroll down a bit) collection, where the outerwear was the main attraction but was highlighted in an opposite way; the coats were simple compared to the printed garments underneath. The drop-crotch sweatpants gave off a more relaxed and nonchalant feel to the looks and casually toned down the glamour of the jackets. There are white ribbons attached to the ends of the trousers; innocence again. What about the hoodies with felt and mini-pompom embroidery? A cozyboy with far better/more unusual taste and the CDG touch. Towards the end of Act I there were these sort of three dimensional fabric suits that might have been achieved through needle-punch or embroidery, either way the ‘hurrah’ of youth was evident.
Act II was a more mature man clad in black and grey. A man at work. The clothes invoked a sort of suppressed and tamed imagination with a black suits with mohair detailing near the bottom. There were the same tasseled suits in elaborately detailed fabrics, but darker in both theme and colour. More historical cuts were seen in the billowing, tapered at ankle trousers. Layering was introduced more into this section of the collection, as in growing up more knowledge was gained and hoodies were incorporated under suits. The shiny, silver lamé suits in checker and a sort of chain mail pattern told the same, in large cuts.
In Act III, the hats resurged and the psychedelic prints but not the colour. It gave a sombre feeling; the real last ‘hurrah’ of life, trying to get back what you had in those young years, not recognising the impossibility of that situation. Then, bliss. Up in the clouds, the light punchy colours ending in pure white shirts really had a moving effect after all that had come in the collection. Note the hair stayed long throughout, as does the male boyish attitude. The greatness of this collection lied in the emotion that was put into designing the clothes and in the clothes themselves.
Throughout, there were Mrs. Kawakubo’s indomitable touches, the uneven side panels added to bomber jackets and the combination of such disparate cuts that could have only come from Comme. Her ideas are original and always witty. Remember the flat collection of AW12 womenswear. Her response to innovation and the fashion industry’s two dimensionality was as ingenious as any 3D printing Dion Lee or fashion critcism Robin Givhan could have mustered. She turns ideas on its head and is extremely intelligent in how she presents her clothes and what they say. That’s why people love her so much, and which also dispells the view that Comme Des Garçons clothes are not wearable. People forget that you don’t have to wear the look as it comes down the runway, but you can.
Wearing CDG is wearing your heart on your sleeve; you’re telling the world who you are. I love Rei. I love Comme Des Garçons. I love all things affliated with Comme Des Garçons; Junya (Charlie Chaplin-esque patchworked beauty), Tao, Ganryu, because there is nothing else like it. I would rap about it, but Tavi has already summed up what I want to say ( the video is now private 😦 ). When I can afford/procure Rei’s designs, I will be a very happy bunny indeed.
Selected looks from the collection: