Comme des Garçons A/W 2018

Comme des Garçons A/W 2018

Scene setting: There was a theatrical edge to the show space of Comme des Garçons’ A/W 2018 show, held at the Pavillon Cambon-Capucines. As guests entered the venue they were greeted with a long velvet curtain with a long catwalk at its centre. Three huge spotlights hung over the runway, and as the show began they slowly lifted to make way for a collection rich in camp and Fellini-esque extravagance and baroque, presented to a classical soundtrack suffused in cabaret, carnival and funfair flare, including the theme from Le Strada, and Laurent Petigrand’s Circus Music.

Mood board: Rei Kawakubo was inspired by Susan Sontag’s celebratory 1964 essay ‘Notes on Camp’ which lists ‘Bellini’s operas’, ‘Swan Lake’, and ’women’s clothes of the twenties (feather boas, fringed and beaded dresses, etc.)’ as part of its aesthetic cannon. For A/W 2018, the padded proportions and sculptural shapes idiosyncratic of Kawakubo’s designs were formed from a mille-feulle of pretty layers. A ruffled skirt made from piles of sugary nightdresses, ruffles of red fabrics resembling a flamenco costume, a cocooning dress dreamt up from piles of lace and wadding, like a mobile meringue or a wedding cake. The collection’s seventeen looks were worn by models who moved serenely down the catwalk. One model’s was head was entirely enclosed by a fabric flower, another walked sporting layers of fuschia net and a padded sequinned dress attached to her body. It was a collection of hyperbolic theatrical flair.

Finishing touches: Kawakubo’s padded designs have in the past been interpreted as grotesque takes on the societal pressures imposed on women’s figures. Take Comme des Garçons’ seminal ‘Body Meets Dress, Dress Meets Body’ S/S 1997 collection which featured typically feminine fabrics like gingham distorted with lumps of padding. There was a more joyful and wonderfully theatrical energy in the brand’s A/W 2018 offering, with looks paired with glittering and bobbing wigs created by Julien d’Ys, and platform Nike Cortez trainers. 

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