Rei Kawakubo's designs are normally unsettling at first, somewhat confusing and, ultimately, incomparably beautiful. What begins as an assault on the senses slowly reveals itself as the work of a true artistic genius. For pring 2000, Kawakubo continued her ongoing experimentation with proportions, layering, pleats and ruffles, creating some of the most original pieces of the season. Ballerina tights were stuffed with layers of chiffon that peeked sheepishly from the girls' thighs. Olive-green army jackets and fatigues were broken down and reconfigured to create flowing skirts and rumpled jackets with displaced shoulders. But at the heart of the collection was a series of shirts and dresses with unexpected abundance of texture and color. Evoking exotic flowers or intricate corals, Kawakubo piled yards of pink, fuchsia and red fabric into bundles of ruffles and pleats that dramatically redefined the silhouette. Flat surfaces suddenly blossomed into enormous volumes. Nothing old, nothing that has been done beforethat's Comme des Garçons' mantra, and it's as true now as it's ever been.