Conventionally, we are used to pants only having two legs + jackets only having two arms, but when there’s any change involved that affects either, it usually includes a change in width, draping, length, stitching + fit. Yet, in Rei Kawakubo’s hands, she redefined + challenged convention, resulting in pushing the limits of tailoring, where such rules were broken, with artistic bravado, for COMMES des GARÇONS RTW Fall 2013 collection. According to WWD, backstage post-show Kawakubo mumbled,
‘The infinity of tailoring.’
While her husband Adrian Joffe added, ‘Everything you can do with a jacket + pants.’
A longtime fan of the iconic label myself, I especially loved how the majority of the looks used men’s wear fabrics like pinstripes + gray Prince of Wales, giving it that feminine masculine edge. There were pants that were the length of schoolboy short, like a uniform, cinched in the front as if done so by staples, while having another pair with a half-skirt, made of swatches of fabric stitched together, giving off the look of unfinished ruffles. Then you had these other pants, in what appears to be red velvet, with a front slit + giant rosettes, a detail that was present in a lot of the other looks (rows2-3, look3).
Some jackets took on a puffer look, with ‘blown-up’ sleeves with the lapels purposely folded in, which was a nice touch. Others looked as if they were attacked by bows, which were strategically placed, creating a beautiful effect.
There were also other jackets that looked like they had flotation devices running up along the sleeves, covered in the same fabric.
The collection stuck to a palette of grays, blacks, navys + pockets of deep red until the end of the collection, where you’re smacked with color + pattern, but boy, what a feeling. The cuts + folds were classic CDG + the patterns, maybe the florals in look1. But Kawakubo did not create these prints (as they could easily pass as her work), but rather, the work of outsider artist Dan Michiels from Creativity Explored, an organization in San Fran that works + aids artists with developmental disabilities (revealed to me, thanks to Susie Bubble), reinterpreted into prints for CDG’s confections. For some, they could have easily been viewed as tacky, but the complexity of Michiels mind, made real in color + shape, as print on clothing by master shapeshifter Kawakubo, was just destiny waiting to happen.
(photos: Giovanni Giannoni)