"The eighteenth century was a time of change and revolution. This is how I imagined punks would look like if they had lived this century". This is the starting point of the Autumn Winter 16 collection of Comme des Garçons. The "I" being Rei Kawakubo. Only she could come with such an idea, with such a starting point for a collection. Such an abstract story, such a provocative storytelling mixing punks & 18th century. They would have worn the seventeen pieces she sent on the elevated catwalk.
These are not real garments but abstract versions of them; complex giant structures made with a couture savoir-faire, not really ready to wear garments. The designer has collaborated with one of the finest renowned houses of Lyon to re-create the fabrics and prints with the same 18th century artisanal expertise. The garments are looking like the result of conceptual ideas put together. Silk brocades and pink vinyls are cut to create structures that are challenging creations, pushing fashion to its limits. Every silhouette that makes its appearance on the catwalk is a disrupted design, making us question anything we define as fashion. The rich and sumptuous fabrics are going hand in hand with the low and profane materials, re-creating a beautiful chaos. All the fabrics are cut, draped, put together to come up with hybrid versions of punks who would have lived in the 18th century. Behind all these hybridizations, one can recognize corsets, trousers, jackets, dresses or the twisted versions of it. Kawakubo demonstrates with the help of couture craftsmanship she can innovate without limits, producing an impossible wardrobe, illustrating her abstract obsessions. Somehow, I could go deep into the interpretation [even if these garments don't need too much explanation] saying that Kawakubo wants to derange with her rebellious army of 18th century punks, pointing out the lack of creativity of this industry compared to all the knowledge and savoir-faire that are dying to be used out there. As she said the eighteenth century was a time of change and revolution, that's maybe what is going to happen to this industry?
Words by Yann Sackville-West