Comme des Garçons
October 02, 2009 Paris
Kawakubo deliberately works at an isolated distance from the mainstream. Just recently, though, she'd have needed to be a hermit or a saint not to react to the way the wider industry has been cannibalizing her ideas. Thanks to her last collection alone, both military drab and the use of sheer, nude fabric are running rampant through the Spring shows, shortly to be followed by an instant mass-market response. Kawakubo returned to both points in this collection (via army tailoring and transparent beige trenchcoats) as if to flag the fact that, actually, she was the one who started those trends.
It's never wise to second-guess a Kawakubo motivation, but her soundtrack of serene music suddenly shifting to a scrambled, fast-forward cacophony, then back again, and the slow-then-quickened step of her models seemed to mirror the idea of the pace of intellectual creativity versus the voracious speed and noise of consumer culture. Still, the mood of the show didn't position Kawakubo as a woman in a funk about the state of affairs in current fashion. And if she actually was taking a sidelong swipe at the mass market's shoulder-pad mania in this collection, and declaring it over? Well, that would not just be funny, but dead right, too.