There are two types of shows in Paris, the kind that goes down amid a brouhaha rarely warranted by the clothes, and the one that takes place with little fanfare yet often makes a much bigger impact. Comme des Garçons shows fall squarely in the latter camp. Oh sure, there were shows staged in more impressive locations (which the city has no shortage of) and some that offered a higher celebrity quotient (Kate Moss’ front-row appearance at Dior had le tout Paris abuzz).
Still, five or ten years from now, it will likely be Comme’s seemingly unspectacular show that will be remembered. Some of that has to do with the hushed reverence of the affair, which has little of the gaiety and glamour that surround some of the week’s other defilés. Instead, going to a Comme show feels like being privy to a cult, where a group of influential people convene dutifully and check years of carefully honed cynicism at the door to see what Rei Kawakubo’s mysterious mind has come up with. This season, the place was an unremarkable warehouse near Dominique Perrault’s Bibliotheque Mitterand towers.
The collection itself was mostly black-and-white and had a multiplication thing going, with jackets attached to the backs of jackets, frocks hanging from frocks, a triplet of dresses sewn together, and a few interesting black vinyl pieces. Kawakubo claims to start each collection from “zero.” Yet it seemed like we had seen some of this collection in past Comme collections. But it is true that she somehow makes it seem entirely novel. Even panniers, in her hands, lose any whiff of Dangerous Liaisons historicism and become a suddenly urgent new shape.