At a time when everyone could use a bit of a break from reality, Rei Kawakubo delivered with a fantastical, entirely black-and-white collection of voluminous frocks that looked like they had stepped out of the pages of a twisted fairy tale. A padded, wraparound cape with a sparkling texture and a giant, balloon-like ball of black tulle didn’t have an armhole between them, but a white tunic was equipped with outsized, calf-grazing sleeves with extra wide black cuffs.
A pair of jersey dresses were stretched over wire frames in front and sphere-like protrusions in back for a tongue-in-cheek take on Victorian-era silhouettes. Several pieces echoed this theme, with large bustles of mixed lace and tulle attached to the back of dresses or the sides of trousers. Others were constructed of uneven layers of mixed textiles, loose gathers or knots of fabric that gave the looks an edge.
Kawakubo called the collection “Landscape of Shadows,” and wrote in her collection notes that it represented a pause from overstimulation. “Amidst the incessant overflowing of miscellaneous things, the deluge of color, the flooding of sound and the inundation of information,” she wrote, “I needed to take one breath in the monochrome serenity.”
While her silhouettes loomed large, clever use of texture ensured that they never looked heavy. On the contrary, the models seemed to float over the white smoke that billowed down the runway. A range of quirky top hats that Kawakubo created together with stylist and editor in chief of Dazed Ibrahim Kamara, as well as heeled Nike sneakers and Salomon trail runners, rounded out the offering.