At Paris Fashion Week, Japan between deconstruction and exploration



Paris fashion week attracts designers from all over the world, but the Japanese contingent is often the most consistent. For this spring-summer 2024 men’s season which ended on June 25, three of them proposed radically different visions.

Appointed in September 2021 at the head of Kenzo, the Japanese designer Nigo symbolically chose the Debilly footbridge on the Seine, “with the Palais de Tokyo on one side, the Eiffel Tower on the other”, to present a collection that weaves links between East and West. Japanese references take the form of an indigo judo jacket worn over a shirt or the waves pattern seigaiha repeated on a hooded jacket. The wardrobe hesitates a bit between references to streetwear (cargo pants, faded denim) and timeless chic (light linen suit, belted coat), creating a vagueness in the stylistic proposal despite some good ideas. “I like to create different characters”Nigo defends himself.

Coming from the same generation, Chitose Abe, from Sacai, has made the dissection and deconstruction of clothing a paying signature. She has no equal when it comes to taking down a basic and enhancing it with skirts, slits, pockets, cutouts… This season, the contrast between work or outdoor clothes (parkas, windbreakers, ) and on the other a light Californian breeze (flowery patterns, nonchalant acidulous knits, surfer-style pearl necklaces) gives a very controlled cool, with hybrids that we only see in the Japanese, such as this dungaree top sewn with a large pleated and slit petticoat that flutters in the wind.

Sea urchins in a wig

Rei Kawakubo, from Comme des Garçons, favors an even more radical exploration. In a dark, disused car park, her models move forward in mesh covered with a jungle print or a red theater curtain; in black jackets glued together, or turned inside out, enhanced with shoulder pads cut with raw edges, to which locks of synthetic hair sometimes cling; or in skirts made up of fringes in the shape of feathers.

As always with Comme des Garçons, the feet and the head count as much as the trunk: the gaze is immediately captured by mutant shoes, designed for four feet, or by wigs in which are stuck stemware, dinosaur toys or fish, flashlights, sea urchin, fork. Memories of a stay or a nightmare? As a single clue, Rei Kawakubo only gratifies us with a cryptic comment: “In order to reach a new world, we have to go beyond reality. » That’s Paris !

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Read also: Men’s fashion week: Paris, in capital letters


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