Monday 22nd March

| BY Claudia Croft

Comme des Garçons: Ready-to-Wear AW21

She called it, Landscape of Shadows and presented it as an ode to “monochrome serenity’. Rei Kawakubo’s AW21 Comme des Garçons collection was a black and white palette cleanser. It served as an antidote to the culture of too much information and the incessant, overflowing, deluge of stimulation that invades our daily existence.

These are anxious times and the designer said “…I needed to take one breath in the monochrome serenity.” Her version of breath work consisted of 20 black-and-white looks, topped off with deconstructed top hats, created in collaboration with the stylist Ibrahim Kamara. They added a Victorian, funereal formality to the voluminous capes and drapes which was then deliberately offset by chequerboard tights and trekking trainers done in collaboration with Salomon. Kawakubo also worked with Nike, creating a high-heeled version of their Premiere football boots.

Some silhouettes were geometric and precise – one sculptural look, composed of a tiny domed jacket, atop a large domed skirt, made the model look like a stoppered fragrance bottle. Others exploded with chaotic layers of ruffles, frills and eccentric volumes. Another ballooning look was daubed with a jumble of graffiti words; ‘LIVE’ ‘FREE’ ‘STRONG’ ‘ENERGY’ – the language of defiance and hope, written in a rebel font. It could be the Comme manifesto, but it could also be a chorus for our times.

Photography courtesy of Comme des Garçons.