Oh, that Rei! Backstage, where everyone runs postshow to get her seasonal deep-thought words (or in this case, word) to grasp on to, she offered the frightful, “Monster.” To wit, Kawakubo’s green-lipped models plodded by ominously trancelike, arms bound and faces sometimes obscured, encased in piles, piles and more piles of thick, undulating padded knits (and the occasional ill-fitting but natty Prince of Wales check), their bodies mere foundation for lumpy, bumpy, misshapen masses of woolen darkness and multiple sleeves. In show notes, Kawakubo shed a little more light on the motif. “It’s not about the typical monster you find in sci-fi and video games,” she wrote. “The craziness of humanity, the fear we all have, the feeling of going beyond common sense, the absence of ordinariness, expressed by something extremely big, by something that could be ugly or beautiful.”
Genuinely deep thoughts, realized to perfection: crazy — check. Beyond common sense — check. Absence of ordinariness — double-check, and hundreds of shows into the season, Godspeed. Not, by the way, that anyone wants everyone with runway clearance to unleash his/her inner Rei — that’s the last thing a monthlong fashion season needs. We do need the occasional flight of the ordinary delivered by someone who has earned the right to send it packing. Along the way, we might be thrilled, outraged, awed, annoyed — so be it.
This fall, though Kawakubo may be passionate in her exploration of the convergence of ugly and beautiful, we might be amused. Dare we tell her that her knit-one/purl-two gyrations are perversely on trend? That there’s a word for a collection built on a base of stretchy catsuits with a dash of cropped tops and naughty sparkle panties — sexy? Or maybe we should thank her for sending a message of sartorial tolerance: Monsters are just like the rest of us. In the throes of a bleak winter, they want to feel cozy, too.