The ongoing collaboration between Comme des Garçons founder Rei Kawakubo and hair stylist Julien D’Ys is a type of worldess sorcery. And their partnership has delivered some of fashion’s most iconic artistic expressions.
The AW21 collection is no exception. Within Commes Des Garçons’ latest collection, the seemingly melancholy mood of creator Rei Kawakubo is on full display.
Rei Kawakubo was misunderstood throughout her early career. Harnessing an attitude of provocation, she designed new and disturbing styles to challenge the status quo.
Landscape of Shadows
This Fall, Commes Des Garçons models appeared to be buoyant or romantically airborne. Unveiled in Tokyo last week, the AW21 collection is entitled Landscape of Shadows.
Models drifted down the foggy dreamscape-like runway. Kawakubo shared in show notes,
“Amidst the incessant overflowing of miscellaneous things, the deluge of colour, the flooding of sound and the inundation of information. I needed to take one breath in the monochrome serenity,”
Recently, in the collection’s press release, Kawakubo references a desire to block out the “inundation of misinformation”. Her goal is to embody serenity. Kawakubo’s trademark use of black on black is structurally supported by flashes of texture-rich whites. Models were styled with sharply structural hairstyles which looked to be etched out of graphite or charcoal.
Moreover, Commes Des Garçons AW21 diplays Kawakubo’s newfound interest in Edwardian-Victorian styles. Checkered punk-like prints and baubles of texturised fabric livened the Tokyo nightwalk. Dessert-like puffs of white lining, ballooning crinolines and flowering black tulle were on display, offering a modern take on the pre-war styles of the 20th century. Once again, hair artist Julien Dy’s is responsible for the models’ extravagant hair styles.
Past and Future
The jet black mullets which models were seen wearing on the fall catwalk are a visual mash-up of dramatically different time periods, 1970’s U.K. punk and pre-revolution France. D’Ys says of the style:
‘My idea was English hair cuts, kind of punk, Sex Pistols, and Bowie,’ says D’Ys. ‘Then Mozart and the marvellous 18th century. I always like to mix different periods, past and future.’
The artistic relationship between Rei Kawakubo and hair stylist Julien D’Ys has been cemented over a 30-year period. This union has created an unspoken understanding of one another’s vision. Often, D’Ys will not see the collection until the day before the show. Significantly, this is once most of his vision has already been put to paper.
One look inside D’Ys New York studio invites viewers on a journey through his sketches, poems and the debris which inspires his creative direction.
At times, Kawakubo will share a singular word with D’Ys, upon which he’ll build his elaborate designs. Last year, the word was black. However, for this year’s AW21 collection, there was no word at all. D’Ys was left to his own imagination to conjure up the edgy styles.
Always a visionary, the Fall showcase displayed Kawakuba’s recent shift towards a lighter monochromatic structured aesthetic.
Check out FIB’s RENEGADES OF FASHION film to learn more about Commes Des Garçons’ Rei Kawakubo:
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