Rei Kawakubo is a lone traveler on an aesthetic journey, during which she occasionally throws out oblique reflections on the state of the world. For Fall, Kawakubo sees her woman quite literally as a person in transit, walking toward her destination with what look like bundles of possessions slung about her body. In one sense, the designer arrived at those tied-on fabric slings and knapsacks by developing the bunchy forms that were knotted into her Spring collection. Now, though, they’ve acquired different associations, which, Kawakubo said, emerged from the idea of a pilgrimage.

Oddly enough, that idea didn’t send her collection wandering too far off the beaten track. Returning to work with her beloved tartans, Kawakubo created jackets and pantsuits that addressed the subject of traditional menswear from a different angle. Platform-soled loafers had the rock-and-roll cool of brothel creepers, while molded rubber Wellingtons had the air of biker boots about them.

Kawakubo doesn’t usually spell out her political beliefs, but this collection included a section of printed fabrics bearing slogans standing up for individualistic thinking. One was Kierkegaard’s “The majority is always wrong,” supplemented by a couple of one-liners written by the designer’s collaborator Gene Krell: “Conformity is the language of corruption” and “Viva the one-percenters.”

The last pilgrim exited the show wrapped in a flaglike cloak, pieced together in the form of a black cross. Though Kawakubo said the religious symbolism was coincidental, the image was disturbingly poignant.