Flower power was the message of Rei Kawakubo’s moving fall collection for Comme des Garçons, which subverted the notion of protection with a display of soft power that she titled “Armour of Peace.”
The designer appeared to draw inspiration from traditional samurai suits of armor for her jackets and coats, which came with rounded shoulder pads and sleeves made of a patchwork of fabrics in different textures and colors, superimposed like articulated parts.
Pitch black on the opening outfits, the fabric sections became increasingly ornate as the show progressed, culminating in a psychedelic clash of floral and geometric prints on a series of pinstriped suits, some worn with bright floral-print shirts. Kawakubo completed the head trip — literally — with tumbling floral coifs.
By the time the last group of models emerged holding armfuls of multicolored blooms, it was impossible not to view the show in the context of the November terrorist attacks in Paris, which have turned parts of the city into permanent shrines.
Although the cryptic designer was not about to spell it out, the wave of heartfelt applause at the end of the show said it all: message (gratefully) received.