I thought of “The Dress” when I was watching Comme Des Garçons. Please don’t kill me, especially for the sort of viral, meme-y, pop culture moment reference I myself detest. But the social media furore over The Dress was around the viewer’s perception of the garment, and that’s always the case with Rei Kawakubo’s clothes. Her garments are often like Rorschach’s blots, both in their ambiguous, amorphous physicality, and in the fact they rely on the viewer to decipher their meaning.
Two of the most satisfying shows of the current Paris season showed nothing anyone would ever want to wear. No great loss. And no insult, or injury.
That was the point, in fact, of both Rei Kawakubo’s Comme des Garçons collection and Jean Paul Gaultier’s final ready-to-wear show. Nevertheless, they could not have been more different: something old, versus something new. Looking forward, and looking back.
Kenzo chose to show their autumn/winter 2014 collection in the former Crédit Lyonnais headquarters. Symbolic, maybe, because menswear right now symbolises money in the bank for many a multi-billion fashion conglomerate. China is the motivating factor, where menswear sales make up approximately 55% of a luxury goods market set to become the world’s biggest (as compared to 40% on average worldwide). Hence the fact that the winter menswear shows seem bigger, more extravagant and more confident than usual. There’s buoyancy amongst the boys.
Paris Fashion Week Spring 2014: A soft Givenchy, a hard Chloe, a messy Céline, and the new Comme Des Garçons
A fashion week is an odd, fluid period of time. It can mean anything from five rammed days in London, the first hazed with jet lag, to the nine-day marathon of the Paris collections. We’re two thirds of the way through that, but there’s still much to see. Namely Miu Miu, Chanel, Marc Jacobs’ Louis Vuitton show, and the always-contentious Hedi Slimane at Saint Laurent. He closes the day’s proceedings tomorrow.
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