Comme des Garçons Homme Plus A/W 2018
Mood board: Read into it what you will, but the show notes for Rei Kawakubo’s A/W 2018 collection were titled ‘WHITE SHOCK: Inner Rebel’. The show opened with models wearing large dinosaur skulls rendered in fabric by the Japanese illustrator and artist Shimoda Masakatsu. The clothes featured patchwork superhero comic strips, aerial photographs of an anonymous city, photographic prints of crazy paving, pebbles and manhole covers – an eclectic mien with a textured narrative. White asymmetric front jackets were made from fabric of embossed tiled grid. Shearling cut into wide shorts and cocooning trenchcoats. Collars on shirts twisted to the right. Graphic architectural drawings of interiors were layered and printed onto blazers.
Scene setting: Kawakubo’s approach is always esoteric. Her last A/W show was staged in the grand, opulent ballroom at the Westin hotel, yet we entered the space from a narrow service entrance at the back of the building. This season the show was held inside the Théâtre du Châtelet – an opera house, located in the 1e arrondissement of Paris, which first opened in 1862. In December last year the Heritage Foundation in partnership with the City of Paris, launched a crowdfunding campaign to pay for its renovation, which is under the direction of the architect Philippe Pumain. The show was set on the stage – a plywood ceiling had been lowered above and the lighting set low. Models walked to and from the edge where a tower of metal scaffolding stood, scaling the entire atrium. It represented a transformative, transfigurative mood.
Team work: All of the three styles of shoe that featured have been made in collaboration: off white trainers with Nike; two-buckle, crepe sole creepers with George Cox; an architectural rubber, closed-toe lace-up created by the Brazilian brand Melissa. Kawakubo’s S/S18 women’s show featured customised shoes by the brand and this is the first time that Melissa has developed an exclusive men’s style. ‘The surprising thing is that it’s a product with no sole, and no top, as if it were a single thing.’ Edson Matsuo, Melissa’s creative director said. ‘It’s a single block, which is exactly what you’d expect from Comme des Garçons.’