The invitation, with its three identical sheets of directions, was the first clue. Rei Kawakubo's idea for her latest collection was superposition, superimposition in plain English. Or, in literal fashion terms, Rei to the power of three. Jackets were layered three-on-one—and they were genuine layers that Kawakubo was proposing, not simply one sleeve tucked inside another—which focused proportions on the somewhat alien zone of the mid-forearm, once three sleeves had arranged themselves over a wrist. No particular reason, it was just one of those Comme des Garçons things, like the rousing Bach on the soundtrack, or the damp, shiny faces of the models—though you'd be shiny, too, if you were wearing three jackets—or the tattoos that adorned legs bared by the shorts that accompanied the jackets in triplicate. They may have looked like X-rays in abstract, or something even more sinister, but there was really no subtext—honest, guv.

An objective viewpoint might have determined some standard Comme reference points: the English schoolboy's uniform, the dropped crotch of the dhoti, the strappy hints of punk bondage. But the rhythm of three-on-one determinedly asserted itself until one was eventually responding to the three-layered trenches, the three-layered argyles, the three-layered jacquards. Within that rhythm, there were fine shadings: a two-buttoned jacket over a three-buttoned jacket over a double-breasted jacket over baggy shorts, or narrow stripes over checks over wider stripes. As with any Comme show, there was no sense of building from a point of origin toward any kind of climax. There was merely the feeling that a single proposal had been well and truly explored. What that proposal might be remained shrouded in a mystery that would only—if ever—be revealed when the actual clothes hit stores next season.