The Raw Brilliance of Rei Kawakubo Shown Through Her Latest Comme des Garçons Homme Plus Collection
What was once a nightmare eventually turned into a relief.
At first glance, Comme des Garçons latest Homme Plus Collection is giving outlandish horror clashes with your worst childhood nightmare. With monochrome looks paired with sinister face masks, the space withers from emotion to emotion, finally landing itself in the space of unease. That being said, you most likely haven’t been introduced to the raw and unconventional mind of CDGs creative director Rei Kawakubo.
“Another kind of Punk,” she calls this collection. One may yearn for more information during the initiation of unraveling this collection, though, with Kawakubo, you learn to acknowledge her unique dialect of brilliance and begin to put the pieces together yourself. Her ability to have single-handedly separated high fashion from vanity, making her one of the most influential designers ever to grace this earth, is reason enough to trust her in her vision… right?
Based on brief notes from Kawakubo, we know she references court jesters, professional fools, or clowns during the Middle Ages. Jesters were often close advisors of the King and essentially became the official bearer of bad news. However, it was the responsibility of the jester to break down the news in a lighthearted manner. These bearers were known to have been souls from an alternative world with bona fide ways of thinking. Kawakubo concludes, “I imagined that these jesters probably had punk spirit.”
With voluminous skirts, loosely fitted black trousers, asymmetrical blouses paired with what looks like a play on medieval loafers or “caliages,” and inflated punk hair designs, we acknowledge her thoughtful correspondence and her intricate, incomprehensible approach to fashion.
In a rare interview with The Guardian in 2018, Kawakubo hinted to her work as similar to Zen Koans, “unsolvable puzzles set by Buddhist teachers which, by being unsolvable, teach you the limits of your intellect and so set your mind free.” As there is no team and Rei is essentially the entirety of Comme des Garçons, is the runway merely an arena for the projections of her mind? If that is so, is it impolite to try and make sense of her creations? Then, perhaps, this debut becomes less of a space of unease but a hub for emotional freedom and raw depositions of creativity.
Watch the full show below: