Rei Kawakubo doesn’t speak expansively about her work. A one word clue is often the most fashion watchers get. But this time, showing in Tokyo due to the pandemic, she said: “The human brain always looks for harmony and logic. When logic is denied, when there is dissonance a powerful moment is created which leads you to feel an inner turmoil and tension that can lead to finding positive change and progress.” Chaos and creation, dissonance and progress: These are all essential elements for Kawakubo.
None of the normal rules ever applied to her way of thinking – in that sense she’s probably the one person in fashion most acclimatised to this era of upset. Her response? A red-li, hell-scape through which her models strode in cellophane-wrapped, panniered gowns. The grandeur and volumes of these creations combined historicism with the very contemporary need for social distancing. Micky Mouse – not cute but fierce and frantic looking – appeared on a graphic. Minnie Mouse’s polka dots played out on a distorted, balloon dress and there was a collaboration with the Bearbrick teddybear toy. These totems of childhood, twisted, in the only the way Comme can.
by Claudia Croft