You wouldn't normally associate Comme des Garçons with chic chignonslet alone the sound of Sinatra crooning "let's face the music and dance." But those were the classic elements in the background of a show that designer Rei Kawakubo described as "free knitting." Almost completely black, save for a couple of things in gray and a tint of blue, the collection was partly about Kawakubo revisiting her own past. Mostly, though, it was an intense research project into what can be done with different varieties of wool, knitting needles and an unconventional vision.
Kawakubo began by wrapping twisted cardigan-coats around the body so that pockets were displaced at odd angles and tan-yellow buttons spiraled the torso. The color blackout, and the consistent styling device of leggings-with-everything, gave Kawakubo artistic license to go crazy, experimenting with a vast range of shapes and stitches. Knit sweatshirting, bouclé and the season's loopy textured sweaters all turned up in a beautifully elegant, off-kilter way.
It was a long show. A lull could be felt, giving the audience time to ponder the poignant significance of Old Blue Eyes' lyrics ("there may be teardrops ahead"), but it was followed by a flurry of scribbling when a twisted, tufty raven's wing-colored fake fur coat and a leather-fronted double-breasted cardigan swung by. Life may be hardbut who cares when the fashion adrenaline's running high?