The pen may be mightier than the sword, but what’s mightier than the pen? For Rei Kawakubo it’s the magic marker, the highlighter, the colored pencil, crayon and paint brush. Kawakubo wanted to fight a battle for fall and picked bright color and pattern as her weapon.

Punchy could not begin to describe this collection, with its harlequin diamond patterns and checkerboard checks, plaids, leopard spots, clownish stripes, clashing candy colors and searing shades of pink, purple and blue. The designer layered and patchworked them with abandon.

In less expert hands, the collection would have been a head-spinning mess, but Kawakubo transformed the chaos into something sophisticated, thought provoking and elegant.

In typical style, models moved in waves, crisscrossing the runway, strutting their stuff and then making way for the next group. They were coiffed like Cleopatra, with heads covered in bleach blond, black or two-tone bunches of braids shaped into pharaonic bobs.

Indeed, hair played big in this show, with long wigs cascading from models’ necks and down their chests, adding an air of primitive chic.

They wore patchwork jackets made from a mix of leopard print, diamond shapes, checks, and slices of shiny patent over plaid, kilt-like skirts and wide, baggy shorts. There were Mondrian-style knits, with their geometric blocks of color and deconstructed tailored pieces, such as a classic pinstripe jacket hacked off at the waist and stitched together with red tartan. A baby blue one was slashed open at the elbows to reveal a candy pink lining.

It was quite a fight, with Kawakubo and her colored army triumphant.

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