Comme Des Garçons Autumn Winter 2014 Show Report: Scary Monsters

02 March 2014 by

For more than thirty years, fashion deity Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons has been challenging preconceived notions of beauty. And for autumn, probably the world's most revered and respected designer has done it again.

Oversized knits look set to be big next season. At Comme des Garçons they will be even bigger - and better.

With Rihanna sitting front row at this tiny show - Kawakubo is openly adverse to the flashbulb popping blockbuster circuit (circus?) the international collections have become but she could hardly say no - out came ribbed, woolly garments  so huge and all enveloping they might not unreasonably be described as monstrous. And that's just fine. Because pretty has never been on this creator's agenda - in the broadly understood sense of the word at least.

If last season she claimed not to be interested in clothing at all - instead she came up with equally grand scale objects for the body - for Autumn 2014 the starting point appeared to be nothing more controversial than a jumper. Never has this been treated in so inventive a way, however. Sweaters were padded, stitched together to form dresses, coiled, knotted and sprouted arms superfluous to requirements. In sludge colours and threatening to engulf the models who wore them  they looked fantastic: the stuff that both dreams and nightmares are made of, depending on which side of the fashion fence one chooses to sit of course.

In fact wool - boiled wool especially - is very much part of this label's heritage. When Comme des Garçons first showed in Paris in the early Eighties (1981 to be precise) the dark, oversized and distressed designs, many of them knitted and peppered with holes, she offered up for inspection rendered her audience lost for words. Today they have been absorbed into the fashion vocabulary providing women who would rather not uphold a bourgeois aesthetic a purposefully strange and beautiful alternative to that.

The miracle? And it is nothing short of that. Comme des Garçons continues to question, provoke and undermine the establishment. With a hefty dose of humour and a level of technical expertise and imagination the likes of which others may only aspire to Rei Kawakubo has, yet again, done just that.


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