Comme des Garçons’ hair artist shares his inspiration

Comme des Garçons’ hair artist shares his inspiration

Julien D’Ys offers an exclusive look into his studio and notebooks in line with the A/W 2021 Comme des Garçons show

Chemistry is an essential element of any collaboration, but the partnership between Comme des Garçons’ Rei Kawakubo and hair artist Julien D’Ys is something more akin to alchemy. For more than 30 years, the two artists, renowned for their individualistic visions, have unified to create some of the most remarkable spectacles in fashion – with very little conversation involved.

Sometimes, Kawakubo will share a single word with D’Ys, from which he’ll build his elaborate designs. Last year, the word was ‘black’; another time it was ‘invisible’. For this year’s Fall 2021 Ready-to-wear collection it was nothing at all. Often D’Ys doesn’t even see the clothes until the day before the show when the bulk of his work is finished.

Black and white notebook drawings by Julien D’ys showing his inspiration for the Comme des Garçons Fall 2021 show

‘No word, no direction,’ says D’Ys. ‘Like always with Rei. and I had to find her new ideas. I started with three drawings and sent them to her. Then she sent me back her favorite drawing and from there I had to find the right wigs.’

This year, the right wigs were a series of jet black mullets, with long straight hair in the back and a halo of spikes in the front. D’Ys inspiration was a visual mashup of 1970s England and Pre-Revolution France, dramatically different time periods united in their penchant for extravagant hair. 

Black and white notebook drawings by Julien D’ys showing his inspiration for the Comme des Garçons Fall 2021 show

‘My idea was English hair cuts, kind of punk, Sex Pistols, and Bowie,’ says D’Ys. ‘Then Mozart and the marvellous 18th century. I always like to mix different periods, past and future.’

Below, he offers us an exclusive look inside his New York studio in the days leading up to the latest Comme des Garçons show. The space is home to D’Ys wigs and his plethora of notebooks, which he fills with sketches, polaroids, poems, debris, anything that inspires him in the creation of his show designs. §

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