A Fashion Spectacle at Comme des Garçons
Japanese designer Rei Kawakubo created spectacles of fashion for her Comme des Garçons Spring/Summer 2014 collection. Models walked in outlandish outfits like the clowns of couture, dressed in designs inspired by what resembled a spider morphed into a black bumble bee or dresses with a skirt of ringlets resembling worms. Lips were painted black and hair twisted or turned into spirals, jutting out at weird angles like spiders legs, or pointing skywards, like a ponytail reaching for the skies.
They walked to a disjointed soundtrack, with a different tune for each look -- for example, an operatic aria played as a black ruffled 18th century-style creation (covered in what looked like a cage) took the runway. On other occasions, models looked like they were imprisoned by their outfits -- one clung onto a black disk of a skirt, attached to gold chains strapped around the shoulders.
In several designs, the arms were kept buried inside the material. Think a black cape of sorts, with wide-cut arms extending into shorts. Flourishes of ruffles spread out from beneath the hemline, like a frilly skirt. There was also a play on oval shapes, which formed shapely panels on dresses, or seemingly encased the models. On one design, pleats flowed like a black fountains of water pouring from a tiny white short sleeved top, which cut off at the thighs like a tunic worn with tights.
Most of the collection was black and white, but some of the couture creatures were accessorized with funky pink tights and Converse-style sneakers with decorative panels, shoes with extended curls on the front, or mini wellington boots on their feet.
With the focus on the muted color pallette, and the models's hair pulled tightly away from their heads, there was a sort of Pierrot feel to the collection -- but here the make-up was dark and the ruffles were found on the dresses instead of the neckline.
The final look resembled two giant puff-balls placed one on top of the other, which encased the torso with the hands poking out below, held straight along black tights on long legs.
Backstage, Kawakubo talked about having to start from the beginning to create something new.