Just one day after Dries Van Noten’s ode to camouflage – the manliest of all prints – Rei Kawakubo opened her Comme des Garcons menswear collection with a staple camo dress shirt and trousers under a single button jersey long coat that looked like a man’s analogue for those dusters that opened Rodarte back in Fall 2011. Kawakubo’s “Poor King”, as the show was so aptly named, came down the catwalk in gold-plated oxfords, sporting a shocking orange tuft of hair (ala Ziggy Stardust) and a studded leather diadem. If the procession spoke more of rock & roll than say, a royal court, perhaps that was Kawakubo’s point. Our modern day princes no longer shack up in the blue-blooded realm of Camelot, but permeate through our Twitter feeds, we pin them on our Pinterest boards, we hack their works through torrents and spread them to our friends like wildfire. Celebrities – our modern day rock stars – that’s who the gestalt has crowned in this day and age.
One would be hard-pressed to recall a more accessible line-up from one of fashion’s most wayward artists. It was burgeoning, bustling, ebullient punk. Case in point: A gray pinstripe suit under what could’ve been a lab coat, bar the wood toggles, worn with chucks with bubblegum pink laces. Kawakubo’s king doesn’t read like the couch potato type; he stays active, judging from the lack of generosity in the lab coat/moto hybrids the boys came stitched into. A couple of the opening outerwear pieces, most notably, an elongated jersey moto turned jumpsuit over a matching camo ensemble looked like something a kamikaze jumper would sport (But, let’s get real – he’d be flying head first into an MTV Music Video Awards red carpet). There was plenty of charm found in another blindingly white moto jacket, so white it could’ve been ermine (what’s more regal than that?) but the ‘Poor King’ is the type to play with the royal armoire, hence why that piece was actually constructed out of terrycloth.
Truth be told, there was something about this outing, as reverent as it was, that felt just slightly referential, but never reductive. The best example of this would be all the striped suiting. Sure, a bit Beetlejuician, and more immediately still, like Ann Demeulemeester’s romantic rock and rollers. But when the last four looks came out, pajamas all imbued in what can only be called ‘CDG plaids’ – that was all Rei all the way.