Saturday 22nd June

| BY Richard Gray

Comme Des Garçons Homme Plus: Menswear SS20

Transformation and liberation through time was the title of the SS20 Comme des Garçons Homme Plus collection. The show, cut into three acts, was inspired by composer Olga Neuwirth’s opera Orlando. The original book by Virginia Woolf, the opera, and, in turn, the collection, all deal with the interlocking politics of gender identity. One show: three acts.

Act 1. Centre catwalk, spotlight from above. A frock coat and dress combination; pearls and a wig. The wig is shiny and synthetic and held in Marcel waves. Another then another; a blouse and more pearls. What looked like lace bonded to another fabric came in a beautifully tailored coat.

Act 2. Centre catwalk, spotlight from above. Large and elaborate tiered shorts; jackets come cut and slashed with other fabric sections sewn into them. Shirts were more like blouses with frou frou cuffs and ruffle-front collars in candy stripe pink. The models were wearing souped up Nike Air Max 95.

Act 3. Incredible tailoring. The clothes: Edwardian jackets; dresses over shirts (blouses). Question: in this act, are these the actual Comme-designed costumes for the Orlando opera, set to debut at the premiere in December? These jackets, in particular, were were so beautifully complex, it was hard to register their increasingly fascinating shapes.

The final act. There is only one designer making real change in fashion: Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons.