As I flicked through the first five or six looks from the comme des garcons spring collection, I must admit I didn’t really ‘get it’. I didn’t feel or understand the relevance of the black tape, bulky black draped fabrics or the structured white suits. It was only when I got to these two consecutive looks , that I finally understood…
Everything just clicked for me at this point, and the looks which followed seemed to tell the story and fill in the gaps in my mind. I feel that rei kawakubo is commenting on the way women/men/people in general feel restricted by clothes and what society accepts as‘normal’. I imagined the black taping is symbolic of the diminution of creativity, and when it was cut, the creativity and individualism kind of bursts out like a starving kitten which has just been rescued from a drain… (?)
Yet there was still a feeling of limitation and perhaps confusion within the garments. Everything seemed to be inside out, wrong way round, upside down and worn ‘wrongly’. But isn’t this what rei kawakubo is trying to say? Who are we to decide what is wrong or right or how things ‘should’ be worn. When did people become so judgemental and their ability to see beyond their own opinion, so limited?
One of the things which I love so much about this collection is the progression, and the way the clothes tell a story as they are presented. Each look flows so beautifully into the next, so much so that it is impossible for me to select a favourite individual look, simply because they do not really feel complete without the look which follows. Having said that, each look is so beautifully balanced and statuesque (I’m not sure why I’m using this word, but it feels so right here), and on its own says so much.
At the end of the collection, the rather confused exuberance and flamboyance of form and texture almost crawls back into itself. The black tape returns, followed by the final three looks, which for me really say the most. I feel Rei is saying her how this restrictiveness within society is causing individualism to dwindle. people are referred to as groups and broad generalisations about people are thrown around like scraps of paper.
I recently read “Farewell to Arms” by Hemmingway, and he comments that through war, the value of life is forgotten and soldiers are killed like swarms of bees. whole groups of men are referred to as ‘the French’ or ‘the Germans’ and all individualism is lost in a confusion of life, death and controversy.
Although Kawakubo isn’t talking about war, I think she is making a similar comment. Everyone is different, and has their own interpretation of fashion and clothing. What is right for some people is wrong for others. no two same people will view things with the same perspective or opinion. Society shouldn’t restrict people to what is considered ‘normal’ or ‘right’ because there isn’t really such a thing. instead imagination and individualism should be fostered and celebrated. GH
Sorry for blabbing on for such a long time. for those of you who actually took the time to read my over complicated confusions of words, here is a little thank you surprise… And for those of you who didn’t read it, I guess you’ll have already guzzled up the visual excitement of the following images…
oh how much i love these guys.
no prizes to those who can guess who i'll be writing about next...