“The King Is Naked.” “Pride Before the Fall.” The slogans emblazoned on plastic macs at the Comme des Garçons men’s show could be read in a number of ways.
“In the world of today information is so easily obtained — there is perhaps too much information,” said the show notes, adding that designer Rei Kawakubo wanted to probe that notion through the medium of Hans Christian Andersen’s fable “The Emperor’s New Clothes.”
The designer used acres of sheer or opaque plastic as the canvas for her exploration, tailoring the material into handsome raincoats, tailcoats, jackets and capes that offered only a suggestion of coverage.
Their hair gelled into stiff crowns, models ambled around in boxer shorts, flimsy layers of plastic netting and transparent high tops from the label’s new collaboration with Nike.
Kawakubo layered up grid patterns on the plastic, some resembling snow fence, to create random mash-ups. Conversely, she aligned vintage Fornasetti images into neat medallion shapes that echoed her signature polka dots.
The soundtrack — a marimba version of Bach’s “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor,” otherwise known as the Dracula theme — added to the ironic tone of the display.
Kawakubo has cultivated an air of mystery by refusing to explain her creative process. Here, she reasserted her purist approach — and challenged consumers to cut through the hype.