SHIRT UPROAR HITS KAWAKUBO RUNWAY PLANS
Byline: Godfrey Deeny
PARIS — Comme des Garions has been forced to shift its upcoming runway show from a city-owned market because of fallout from the house’s controversial men’s wear show last January.
The mayor of the third arrondissement ousted Comme des Garions from the Carreau du Temple, where the house has staged its women’s shows for six years, after complaints from local traders. The house will present its collection at Elysees Montmartre, an old concert hall in north Paris, at 8.30 p.m. Wednesday.
The dispute stems from the men’s show that was staged Jan. 27 (the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz), in which several striped pajama outfits were worn by men with close-cropped hair. The outfits sparked an outcry from some fashion editors and Jewish groups, who said the pajamas resembled uniforms worn by inmates of Nazi concentration camps.
Following the criticism, Comme agreed to withdraw the outfits from all its sales points worldwide.
“This whole thing has been one terrible nightmare,” said Adrian Jaffe, Comme des Garions’ managing director and husband of Comme’s designer Rei Kawakubo. “Rei is devastated. It was never her intention to make any reference to the Holocaust. Her theme was of turn-of-the-century England, when gentlemen came home in the evening and put on their dressing gowns and pajamas,” explained Jaffe, who is Jewish.
A spokeswoman for Jacques Domati, the third arrondissement’s mayor, confirmed that Comme des Garions could not use the market, but declined to elaborate. Domati could not be reached for comment. Jaffe said several other arrondissements had refused to allow the house to use their facilities. “We have never been able to state our case. We showed happily in the Carreau for six years, and the mayor even came to some shows. But now we have been just kicked out,” he said. — Fairchild News Service