It's a shame to think that designers are operating-creating without paying attention to what is going on outside the fashion world. Rei Kawakubo does care about what is happening in the world. Instead of talking about it, she is creating beautiful collections that are interacting with the fashion-sphere, echoing with the outside world. She's turning to War, Peace, and Masculinity into her Autumn Winter 16 Comme Des Garçons Homme Plus collection. This time, she is not talking about soldiers of peace but rather about armors of peace. She is surprising us with a collection of classic tailoring embellished with armors, brocades, floral patchworks & flowers; and is disrupting with the idea of masculinity and what could be analyzed as posture of war into her tailored pieces. For instance, here, the armors that usually served to protect and resist the opponents, are reduced to an object of embellishments like the brocade insertions or the floral patchworks.
This collection is definitely a ceremony of peace with different processions full of contradictions: light/dark, strength/fragility, ugly/beautiful & war/peace. Julien D'ys (a long time collaborator of Kawakubo) is in charge of the hairdos, creating these floral headpieces or warrior flowers epitomizing this idea of ritual. Flowers are everywhere in this collection. They are worn as brooches, printed on jacquard shorts or on heavy brocade patchwork on the sleeves of the jackets. They are a metaphor for peace. Maybe it's the strongest piece in this collection. For the last procession, models are taking their bows with big bouquet wearing black fragmented suits. Obviously, the clothes Kawakubo is sending on the catwalk are gathered together like sewing ideas. There are a lot of panels, shoulders pads, patchworks and slices of fabrics adorning the suits. Sleeves are stitched or attached with a belt to the shoulders. Some sleeves are literally cut-out or opened. Every piece seems stitched together as if the fabric has been cut-out and repaired. These clothes are to seduce and make you beautiful rather than weapons for defense or protection.
A suit is the emblem of masculinity. Here it is deconstructed, distorted, cut-out and repaired. It's becoming fragile even if it's built on solid ground (armor suits). What is beautiful? What is masculinity? Kawakubo is questioning all these matters in this collection. Boys should not cry? Boys have to be strong? Boys will be boys? All these things are bullshit and nonsense!
She is also sending a strong message with her flower warriors. A message that seems more than accurate nowadays: MAKE PEACE AND COME IN PEACE!
Pic by Virginie Khateeb via Dazed Digital
Words by Yann Sackville-West
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