Review of Comme Des Garçons Spring 2022 Fashion Show
Reincarnations of Another Kind
By Long Nguyen
Receiving the Comme des Garcçons images from the small showing in Tokyo at the brand headquarter on a slow day in Paris was like getting a sumptuous three-course meal during this Paris show season. Despite the great efforts to stage a comeback from the pandemic, it still felt a bit of the void of real creativity rather than the perennial antics and stage crafting.
The first image is of a giant rigid bubble ‘dress’ with large decorative bows. Then, a black circle motif and a large short sleeve at the waistline a finger-like sculpture short sleeve ‘dress’ in the large white floral pattern.
These ‘clothes’ suggested not a total abandonment of the creative process Kawakubo has engaged in the past decade or so in asking what clothes are but a refinement.
At times, the designer pilled on so many potential references on each of the ‘look’ she sent out on her runways in Paris, at times confounding the audiences. Now in twenty-one looks, it is just about the suggestion of a dress shape with their bulbous giant prints on the surfaces of the fabrics.
As usual, Rei Kawakubo sent an email statement about her thinking, this time reading like a haiku verse – “Things I feel I don’t need these days: the making of intricate fabrics, the use of complicated colors, patterns which clearly defining the body, details that emphasized the clothes, the intention to makes clothes. What remains at the end after getting rid of all these things is the strongest thing – like simple pebbles that you get after rough rocks have been washed over and swept down the river.”
The designer titled this Spring 2022 show ‘My Present State of Mind’ of her mini-show in Tokyo in lieu of its regular schedule on a Saturday late afternoon.
Kawakubo’s statement is, in a way, expressing one of the central tenets of Buddhism – that of a process of liberation from the cycles of suffering caused by desire and attachments. In more common fashion terminology, Kawakubo means the need to let go of the past to achieve a clean slate in the creative process, a renewal of thinking and action.
In Spring 2022, Kawakubo sent out just–like shadows of possible silhouettes not yet taking a final shape. From the opening with all-black fabric and print patterns to the neon green giant leaf print to neon Fuschia abstract flower to black and white stripes, each dress became like a living entity, growing with 3D detailing from the plain smooth surfaces. Black 3D flowers are embossed on a colorful floral background of a drop sleeve, front fold dress. Short black fringes coming out of black circle prints like tentacles on a black and white stripe exaggerated sleeve cocoon dress. Or the contrasting folds of a black dress and cape with black viscose fabrics woven into the field of flowers.
For one, a black dress takes the shapes of an actual flower, masterful techniques of manipulating the materials to create the trompe l’oiel flower pattern used instead of the actual print.
The multi-disciplinary artist, set designer, toy designer, and illustrator Gary Card created the colorful sculpted headpieces that are one step beyond the notion of wigs. “My creative process explores the very limits and techniques of the materials I am working with,” Card said of the collaboration adding to the dramatic clothes.
There are trailblazer shoes in a nod to reality – the Salomon x CDG SR90 – the original 1960s model from Salomon redone with CDG colorings and graphics.
This Spring 2022 collection is primal fashion in the total absence of heritage, national, or brand-based of any kind. The ‘dresses’ have internal frames to create the shapes flowing away from the body as if the body is used only as a carrier for them.
The last look in the show – a curvy rigid rectangular structure mid-body frame base with pleat trims in a black and white print hardly resembles any actual clothes. But that is the idea here.
What is so crucial and demonstrated here at Comme des Garçons every season, the desire to create something new, something different in fashion, than to be right about fashion or, in the worst case, to be on trends. Thinking and experimentation are the drivers of creativity in all fields, especially in fashion now sufferings from rounds and rounds of recycling of past ideas. And, to is the reverence for creativity and the inquisitive spirit looking ahead.