Paris Fashion Week: the Japanese galaxy Comme des Garçons reveals its universe


Like boys.

The pandemic has in no way diminished the desire of Japanese designers to parade in Paris, the beating heart of global fashion. After shaky seasons, they are definitely back, as are the Japanese journalists and buyers, who have returned in droves. At fashion week, which takes place from February 27 to March 7, the small galaxy of designers whose brands belong to the Comme des Garçons group, founded by designer Rei Kawakubo and led by strategist Adrian Joffe, notably unveiled their new vintages. . With, on the program, a creative vivacity in an often collected atmosphere and shady text explanations. Fans of jeans-down jackets-sneakers, abstain!

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Rei Kawakubo invests, for Comme des Garçons (the label), the grandiose American cathedral. In twos, threes or fours, the models advance to a different musical genre (classical, jazz, pop, rock, etc.), stroll slowly then leave the stage when the piece suddenly stops. In her succinct and as always cryptic note of intent, the empress of body sculpture declares that she wanted to seize “free bosses” and of “unexpected materials”.

In its bombastic language, it results in angular capes, with a symmetry of a children’s paper casserole, and tubular skirts; dresses that do not always leave the arms free, lined with fur or constructed in a hurricane of fabrics, as if folded into origami or layered like millefeuilles. To accompany his shameless wardrobe, Kawakubo adds, as often, sensational headdresses, imagined by the artist Valériane Venance: rigid cones of hair, mountains of blades of paper as if passed through a shredder, Versailles-style wigs stretched in circumflex accent or multicolored weavings like a host of scoubidous…


At Noir, Kei Ninomiya also dresses the heads of his models with what appear to be polystyrene blocks domed with colored spray (signed by ceramist Takuro Kuwata) and which could pass for shards of meteorites. If the black color dominates in this collection like no other, in ruffled dresses, a coat with straps or a shirt with a large sequined bow, the designer willingly ventures into color – a rarity! Purple pants, vermilion tulle dress, almost fluorescent pink jacket and skirt…

Ninomiya mixes her usual sculptural proposals (this time, pieces like corals, in voluminous bells made up of holographic silver flowers, or in rigid translucent plastic rods like a dandelion flower) with more commercial clothing and punkette accessories (stockings fuschia high school girls or ballet flats with a platform and leather straps, in collaboration with Repetto).

Perfectos transformed into sculpted dresses

At Undercover, the punk spirit blows in the breeze, scaffolded by splashes of paint (made in sequin embroidery) on jackets or bombers, graffiti prints and hoods with devil horns. The new score by Jun Takahashi sends the music, with in particular curved suits with thin ties of little rockers whose back proclaims “Enjoy yourself”a chorus by the Specials, a British ska band from the 1970s.

“I wanted to remember the positive attitude that I had in my youth”, says the designer in his note of intent. This is followed by a series of checkered coats bearing the name of Manuel Göttsching, a big name in experimental electro who passed away on December 4, and more experimental sculptural down jackets.


Musical experience also at Junya Watanabe where the inimitable riff of Kashmir of Led Zeppelin marks the beginning of the festivities. “This song guided me in the creation of the parade, which is a tribute to the lyrics and the feeling of crossing the desert”, summarizes the designer in a pithy press release. This legendary tube that stays in the head has the merit of waking up the guests invited to the church of the oratory of the Louvre on a Saturday morning early.

And so much the better, because the collection deserves to be examined carefully, with its complex and entirely black silhouettes, mixing technical vocabulary (fasteners, cords, pockets, rivets, straps, etc.) and that of couture (precious materials, puffy sleeves like paintings by Velazquez, ruffles, basques…). Biker jackets are cut out and reassembled, transformed into sculpted dresses lined with zips. After the last passage, the song stops and gives way to the applause of the Parisian public… as well as those of the soundtrack, because Junya Watanabe had chosen a live version of Kashmir. Definitely, we are never at the end of our surprises with the group Comme des Garçons.

Junya Watanabe.
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