'Crazy Suits'. That’s the only phrase that Comme des Garçons gave to describe their S/S 19 collection. Rei Kawakubo is rumoured to dislike when stylists or journalists misinterpret her narrative, so it’s a little odd that she chose to be so brief in her description, particularly when her designs are so expressive and innovative. But that’s part of the charm of Comme des Garçons - you never know what you’re going to get and perhaps Kawakubo just wants you to take the clothes at face value.
On the first impression, this was a comment on retainment and release. Models were literally caged and kept behind bars before walking out one by one, doing so in packs of colour or theme. All were suited, but each tailored piece was manipulated individually. Some cartoonish, candy-striped suits were slashed and torn down the back, some orange check suits were given a rouching and pinching effect all-over, much like British womenswear designer Molly Goddard’s styling. This idea of retainment and release could be seen in the alterations throughout; tuck and twist to restrain, slash and tear to release.
Glitter for a party, pastels for a wedding, camo, sheeny greens, dark florals, polka-dots - there were suits for just about everyone here. But why just suits? To project an idea onto these garments, perhaps Kawakubo’s destruction of such emblematic business wear is a comment on the corporate cog, politicians, businessmen - the yuppies of today. There were certainly signs that Kawakubo was referencing 'crazy' suited men with too much power. Blazers were flayed as if portly bellies were protruding from underneath and buttons were purposefully being stretched to their limit. Ken-doll-like rubberised hair was plastic fantastic in its unification of each model and felt like a comment on a cookie-cutter aesthetic or puppet-like monotony.
Indeed, the giant gold chain jewellery with eyeballs and canine teeth, while wonderfully impressive, appeared to be a social commentary on being always watched, or being in the mouth of the beast. Aside from these imposed views, the collection was really entertaining. It was beautifully unorthodox with so much detail and colour that one felt eyes darting all over the room. Trust Kawakubo to take the simple suit and make it so brilliantly crazy that you not only add it to your wishlist but question its social commentary too.