Believe it or not – I can’t! – but we’re heading towards a new millenium. So, how do you choose the most important collections, designers and labels of the decade? The ones that made an actual impact in the 2010s? Well, it’s not an easy task. It all began in September 2009 with New York’s spring-summer 2010 shows and ended when the autumn-winter 2019 haute couture shows wrapped in Paris. Few thousands of shows, by the way. There will be 19 posts (that’s really the only possible minimum!) reminding about the best – and if not the best, then strongly influencing – moments in fashion.
Rei Kawakubo‘s “flat” collection, Comme Des Garçons AW12.
Back in 2012, I was 13. And this collection was a complete fantasy for me. “The future’s in two dimensions” was its provocative premise. The cutout paper-dolliness of looks like the red and pink felted coat-dresses that opened the show, or the lilac jacket and pants that followed – all that was amazingly odd and phenomenal at the same time. In fact, this wasn’t just about fun dressing up – hello, it’s Rei Kawakubo’s work! – but rather a comment on the state of the industry (there was a sort of creativity crisis in the end of 2000s and the beginnings of 2010s, to be honest). If the fashion industry was happy with coverage that reduces its most elevated endeavors to two dimensions, then Rei was going to reduce the industry itself to an equally flat proposition. A handful of ultra-clichéd fashion patterns – camo, leopard, florals, polka dots – were used in the most literal of ways. The “eveningwear” was all about sequins, the ultimate evening cliché. How flat! Kawakubo mocked fashion and us, the viewers, but at the same she created wearable, geometric art-works that still make you sigh with delight. Here’s Iris Apfel photographed by Jeff Bark for Dazed & Confused wearing the most striking pieces from the collection. Naturally, the 13 year old me needed that issue. And the today me still cherishes it for this stunning editorial.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
25 years after the launch of the first Comme des Garçons perfume, 15 years after opening the first Dover Street Market in London, Comme des Garçons opens Dover Street Parfums Market in Paris. It’s a place you never knew you needed so much. Located two minutes from Musée Picasso, this outpost of DSM is dedicated to beauty with a selection of perfumes, cosmetic and make-up brands from around the world. From avant-garde independent young labels (Kerosene, 19-69, Ormaie…) to the most established and classic references, it’s an explosion of scents, sounds and textures. Skincare, body and hair care products are also part of the proposal, with a majority of sustainable and organic brands aimed for all the human spectrum. It’s about authencity, diversity, originality and inclusivity. Special guests include Gucci with its Alchemist’s Garden line; Byredo’s unique corner; events by MAC cosmetics (and their Instagram-big Comme Des Garçons tattoo kit available only here); Julien D’Ys’ hair installations; and Thom Browne who is about to launch his very first perfume range entitled 09.27.65. Dover Street Parfums Market has no commercial visuals, logos or gifts with purchases. As for the interior, Rei Kawakubo designed a forest of pillars with egg shaped shelves carved within them. Mainstream beauty stores and department stores are becoming even more bleak and charmless in my eyes now.
11 bis rue Elzevir / Paris
Rei Kawakubo presented a collection of unbridled opulence and transporting fantasy in the second of three shows themed on Virgina Woolf’s ever-inspiring novel, “Orlando“. The men’s show back in June was Act I, this is Act II. Act III is coming up in Vienna in December, at the premiere of Olga Neuwirth’s opera adaptation of the mentioned literary masterpiece. The narrative of the Comme des Garçons show ran in tandem with Woolf’s time travelling protagonist, jumping from Elizabethan times through the 18th and 19th century to the present. And, Kawakubo also added her own chapter: the future. The first part of the show, the Elizabethan period, was overfilled and stuffed with ornaments and details, and the garments seemed to be decaying with their splendour the same moment they appeared on the runway. With every look, the amount of decorations seemed to decrease. The last silhouettes – would never call them clothes – were all-black, minimal in cut and big. The future is unknown and uncertain. Or maybe black is the symbol of transformation, Orlando-wise? As always, Kawakubo raises many questions for you to answer yourself.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
Rei Kawakubo’s autumn-winter 2019 is the second season when the Comme des Garçons designer no longer does abstract bodies. In the collection she entitled as a Gathering of the shadows, you could sense danger: nearly all-black looks, executioner hoods, armor-like shapes, a soundtrack that definitely caused goose-bumps (think heavy, militaristic machinery, helicopters and English Victorian hymn in children voice). Some thought the show was all about defensive aggression and the terror of today’s world. Kawakubo knows what’s going on, with nationalism intensifying across the world. But maybe this wasn’t a line-up that was solely about the occurring circumstances? Rei’s shows are here for your free interpretation. I saw something very sublime about this one. A coat made from slices of leather; a black taffeta dress worn under a shell-like jacket; fishnet body-suits worn under every garment. It was avant-garde, as shocking in 2019 as back in the 80s, when Japanese designers – lead by Kawakubo – arrived to Paris with their Hiroshima chic.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.