Saturday, January 23, 2016

BEAUTY: Clothing--Comme des Garçons

Rei Kawakubo started her company Comme des Garçons in 1973 and added a men's line in 1978. It is fair to say she has been at this a long time. But like a true artist, she is seemingly never at a loss for inspiration or context for a collection. And her Fall-Winter '16-'17 show at Paris Fashion Week today possesses a context that Kawakubo has explored before: anti-war. Her Spring-Summer '15 collection seen here was a thrilling anti-war statement...the phrases "Soldier For Peace" and "Peace, Love, Empathy" were scrawled on jackets featuring military details accessorized by camouflage netting. At the time, fashion journalist Tim Blanks noted, "It is impossible to be a thinking person and not be mortified by the world's descent into sectarian mayhem, from Nigeria to Syria to Ukraine, and beyond that, to the school shootings, the rapes, the acts of random violence that darken the urban landscape by the day. And Rei Kawakubo is a thinking person... 'Anything war can do, peace can do better' was the expression of optimism on the back of one of the finale's graffiti pieces. They're only words, but words are all we have. And that might have been Kawakubo's final, poignant comment on our fundamental powerlessness in the face of the global epidemic of violence."

Because we are apparently powerless and things in the world have gotten worse, not better since that collection, Kawakubo took her anti-war statement further and used the construction and silhouette of Medieval armor and its accompanying undergarments as a jumping off point to create suits, coats, and jackets in soft flannel or floral putting a daisy in the barrel of an assault rifle. Shoulder guards and reticulated sleeves and legs look layered and interesting, softening and disarming their original usage (click on the photos below to see the marvelous details). Even shoes gained several layers of reticulated leather. And to crown it all off, literally, her models sported laurels of roses and flowers as a way of saying, "And the winner is the one who wages peace!" Again, anything war can do, peace can do better.

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