love the challenge!
Anywho, here we go again. I will kick-start my exploration of Japanese Fashion with, a personal favourite, Rei Kawakubo for 'Comme des Garcons'
And, just for all of you who are sitting there thinking 'Who on Earth is she?' (you probably should not be reading this sort of blog) I shall give you some basic background info.
- Born on the 11th of October 1942 in Tokyo, making her a Libra - like me!
- Utrained as a fashion designer, but studied fine arts and literature at Keio University. Kawakubo worked in textiles and began working as a freelance stylist in 1967.
- In 1973, she established her own company, Comme des Garçons Co. Ltd in Tokyo and opened up her first boutique in Tokyo in 1975. Starting out with women's clothes, Kawakubo added a men's line in 1978. Three years later, she started presenting her fashion lines in Paris each season, opening up a boutique in Paris in 1982.
- Her Designs have inspired, among others, the Fashion Designers Helmut Lang, Martin Margiela and Ann Demeulemeester (I know people who thought Kawakubo was a hard name to spell. This designer is the one also known as, the brilliant belgian fashion designer's whose name I can not spell and, when I am tired, can certainly not pronounce.
Now, I do not wish to stereotype, but Rei, like many other Japanese Fashion Designers, does have a liking for the monochrome... and unwearable pieces.
Comme des Garçons specialises in anti-fashion, austere, sometimes deconstructed garments. During the 1980s, her garments were primarily in black, dark grey or white. The materials were often draped around the body and featured frayed, unfinished edges along with holes and a general asymmetrical shape. Challenging the established notions of beauty she created an uproar at her debut Paris fashion show where journalists labeled her clothes 'Hiroshima chic' amongst other things. Since the late 1980s her colour palette has grown somewhat.
So, although interesting, this Spring/Summer 2012 collection was not exactly far off expectations when it was presented on the 1st October 2011 during Paris Fashion Week.
It was a collection influenced by different stages of life: Birth, Marriage, Death and Transcendence. This is apparent through the use of Duchesse Satin, a typical choice for a wedding dress, to represent the Marriage Stage, and even the densest of observers could not have failed to observe the wedding dress-like shapes and forms. There were also more oblique, so to speak, references. Not everybody would have picked up straight away on the pointy-headed robes like those worn by church dignitaries during Seville's Semana Santa, or the white flowers, as in 'a body laid out in white flowers'
Were there hints of the 60s? In line with the current Fashion. If you do not think so, then pray take a glance at the white boots.
Finally, was there a little of the Cristobal Balenciaga in all this. Not particularly in terms of clothes. Although there may be a similarity in silhouette with some of his designs, I do not think Cristobal was really this avant-garde. ;) No, I reference Cristobal Balenciaga, a deeply religious man who elevated the craft of couture to the level of spiritual quest. He believed he could find salvation in the perfect sleeve. It was probably coincidence that sleeves were the signal detail of the Comme collection (they were long and wide, falling almost to the floor)
|Missy Rayder in 'Comme des Garcons' June|
2004. Photography by Richard Burbridge.
|2008 collaboration with H&M|
Thank you for reading. Tell your Friends. Spread the word.
(The year of my Birth!)
|Comme des Garcons 1990|
|Comme des Garcons 1982|
|Comme des Garcons 1997|
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