Rei Kawakubo was looking to shake things up, so she literally turned clothes upside down in her new collection for Comme des Garçons. The French have an evocative-sounding word for it: bouleversé. And there was plenty of that in coats that trailed sleeves to the ground, or jackets that had clutches of other jackets dangling from their backs. A single jacket would be collaged from a couple more, and dresses were layered for an effect that evoked Kawakubo's other gnomic reference point: multiple personalities.

The fact is, as much as she sought to court chaos, there was a spare elegance to many of the designer's constructions, compounded by Julien d'Ys' delicate aerodynamic cloches of feather and net. Take, for instance, the white cotton military coat; or the perfecto-style jacket, also white, which was elongated and expanded so it was almost capelike, then wrapped in black; or the black jacket cut away over a striped cotton nightgown. (Another striped smock bordered on asylum attendant, evoking a sort of bouleversé Gothicism.) A top had one arm ruffled, the other tiered, as couture as Capucci. The finale conjoined pairs of women with a third outfit, conveying the notion of multiple personalities in an obvious way. Why? Wrong question. Why not? Right answer.