Comme des Garçons
September 29, 2012 Paris
In turn, with Rei Kawakubo having influenced much of the cartoonlike, graphic sensibility of this season's shows with her offering of last, the question was: What would the Comme des Garçons designer do next?
"Crushing" was the answer. Like nuclear fusion, this is the way that Kawakubo wanted the energy of the collection to be released. As the first model emerged at a stately pace, with her crown of crushed brass objects, her flowing white hair, and her garb made up of overlapping, crushed, thick cotton canvas toile, the ghosts of future garments could be made out in the one she actually wore. This passage continued at the same speed, the white, almost marshmallow-sole platform shoes supporting this difficult balancing act—both physically and metaphorically—with crushed ice buckets and biscuit tins on heads; even what seemed to be a large washing machine part at one point. It was as if collections past, present, and future were all pressing together at once.
Then there was an abrupt, and literal, change of pace. The crowns (made with the artist Graham Hudson) and flowing locks were still there, but the crushed clothes were no longer dominated by the toile material: They meant business in a variety of blacks. The models speeded up, and they walked with purpose. It was almost as if this was a comment on all the back to black that is going on this season. Lest we forget, black is the dominant power color of contemporary fashion because Rei Kawakubo made it so in the eighties. She owns it. And these models were seemingly exercising their right of control over it.
There was a brief reprise of the toile trope at the end, to extravagant proportions, but before that was the quieter addition of rich, regal velvets to the tough blacks. It seemed significant. In this Paris fashion week's Game of Thrones stand-off, perhaps this collection was a reminder of who is the reigning queen.