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Published
Mar 25, 2021
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Comme des Garçons and Noir Kei Ninomiya: Dual Dickensian dry-iced dreams

Published
Mar 25, 2021

No one could ever fault Rei Kawakubo for lacking visions.
 
In the seemingly permanent runway season of this year’s global lockdown, Rei Kawakubo's collection for her house Commes des Garçons was the latest, and very much not the least, to appear. 


Comme des Garçons autumn/winter 2021 - Comme des Garçons

 
Rei’s latest ideas for Comme des Garçons, released Tuesday in a video to editors and friends, combined Charles Dickens devilment with grand giugnol grit.
 
The “show” was staged last week in Tokyo, before a handful of friends inside CDG offices; marking the latest moment when Kawakubo managed to cross fashion over into the world of fine art.

Her amazing Amazons emoting in giant feathered cloaks over acres of tulle rouched up into swan-like shapes; or immense bubble coats in twisted up shards of silk and calico.

 


 
Giant priestly soutanes worn over leggings and bovver boots; a massive tail of tulle attached. Ringmasters' white tails cut into hoodies; cumulus clouds of cotton draped to create two-foot-wide sleeves. New romantic baronial babes in bouffant black and white kilts over grafittied leggings. 
 
A color palette of black, anthracite and white. All based on Salomon x CDG running shoes.


Comme des Garçons autumn/winter 2021 - Comme des Garçons

 
“Amidst the incessant overflowing of miscellaneous things, the deluge of color, the flooding of sound and the inundation of information… I needed to take one breath in the monochrome serenity,” explained an unusually voluble Rei Kawakubo.
 
Wearing stove-pipe Victorian undertaker hats, with moth-eaten cut outs or toppers covered in spider-webs – in a great display by Ibrahim Kamara, stylist and editor-in-chief of Dazed, who Rei called on for headgear.
 
Brides of Funkenstein finishing the show, in gigantic shards of tulle.  Disturbingly beautiful; intensely original – a terrible beauty is born.
 
Her protégé and sidekick Noir Kei Ninomiya followed that hard-to-follow act with an even more intense display of fashion. The two show links were sent out in the same email.


Noir Kei Ninomiya autumn/winter 2021 - Noir Kei Ninomiya

 
Delightfully moody-looking models, their hair plastered all over the skull, in arty work by hair stylist Asashi, marching in oversized gowns and never-ending cascades of fabric swatches.  Classic Aran sweaters – the Irish knit that has long obsessed all Japanese designers – jumbled into hefty shapes like malleable armor. 
 
Even if the designer seemed to have the order of the show backwards – beginning with a crystal and metal space-age queen ceremonial robes. Globular shaped metallic gowns for an intergalactic aristocratic rave. Even a perfecto got a futuristic makeover – its spiky sleeves glittering in the semi darkness of this show.
 
No wonder the designer called this “Metal Couture.”
 
As is their wont, neither designer took a bow. All told, two darkly glorious moments, that captured in visual terms the inquietude of this never-ending tunnel of a pandemic.
 

 

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