Big Picture: Comme des Garçons Spring 2017

When Rei Kawakubo deigns to send out polka dots or accordion pleats or tartans or hoodies, she does it with such tacit gusto that they become the most exquisite polka dots or accordion pleats or tartans or hoodies ever transferred from mind to matter, unlikely to be equaled anytime soon.

With the help of an operatic soundtrack, that was the heightened, taut aura today at Comme des Garçons’ collection for spring, the season that will be most current when the next Met Gala rolls around in 2017. That’s the year, you’ll recall, the theme is none other than CDG, the first time the Costume Institute will devote the esteemed fashion exhibit to a living designer, ending a ban started under Diana Vreeland’s tenure at the museum.

The small show — only 17 looks — was essentially a best-of collection, a distillation of Kawakubo’s most definitive creations over the years, vestigial sleeves and the like. Considering she’s never does anything twice and will only show what’s never been shown before, breaking that rule is another first. At show’s end, Ann Wintour clapped alongside the Costume Institute’s curator-in-chief, Andrew Bolton, meaning these are the looks that’ll be worn on the Met Gala red carpet — sans cellophane wrapped around the models’ head and face, one hopes, lovely though it was.

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