Before the Comme des Garçons Homme Plus show today, Rei Kawakubo's husband, Adrian Joffe, relayed the season's message: "Holy jacket." Or was that "holey"? Or did the distinction even matter? Holes, after all, have a peculiar sanctity in the Comme des Garçons saga. When Rei first showed in Paris in 1981, her sweaters filled with holes—a new kind of lace, she said—were leapt upon as emblematic of the barbarians at the gates of fine French fashion tradition. In Kawakubo's latest men's collection, holes were exalted, carefully stitched into jackets, sweaters, and shoes—even, in some cases, ringed with velvet.
But their deliberate placement seemed significant. On the jackets, the holes fell exactly where pockets would be. This suggested a negation of utility that was also borne out by the way zippers were used. The teeth were too far apart to ever close, creating another kind of hole, sinister when the unzippable gap extended the length of the spine. This being a Comme collection, it may simply have been the alchemizing of the ordinary to produce a new decorative element. Or it may have implied something deeper, darker about masculinity: the useful rendered useless. And if we were to run with the notion that the jackets were "holy" rather than merely "holey," the way that detached lapels were used as scarves might have signified the stoles of liturgical garments. All speculation, of course—there is no earthly reason why Rei Kawakubo would be remotely interested in addressing the finer points of priestly Christian garb. Unless she felt that the ascent of a new Pope who seems interested in engaging with the whole world, rather than that small portion of the Church which is devoted to maintaining its power base, was worthy of comment.
On the other hand, there was a tip of the cap to human faith in Julien d'Ys's extraordinary hair situation. A long, glossy protuberance which dangled in front of the models' faces was viewed by some as a mosquito's proboscis, by others as an alien face-hugger. It was, according to d'Ys himself, representative of the trunk of Hindu elephant god Ganesh, worshipped as the god of wisdom, prosperity, and good fortune. Such positivity cast a different light on Kawakubo's parade of dark suiting. Suddenly, it seemed sober rather than somber, and its occasional dull Lurex sparkle was the sheen of success.