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Comme des Garçons

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REIGNING ECCENTRIC

Each runway season, all eyes turn to Rei Kawakubo, the inscrutable reigning queen of the avant garde, to inspire and provoke with her Comme des Garçons collection. The models’ brightly colored hair, teased into sudsy-looking up-dos, signaled a memorable show. This season upholstery fabric, sometimes mixed with sequins, lent itself nicely to her play on volume, with undulating strips forming a jagged asymmetric skirt and a bulging ruffled jacket. She made the trend for bike shorts her own by showing a mid-thigh version in her signature polka dots. Kawakubo’s particular brand of brainy irony was apparent in a long trench made from sheer organza and a fit-and-flare dress with an armhole that had migrated to the hip. Studded leather shoulder harnesses and stiff hip pads toughened things up. Was it a jab at the hordes of exaggerated shoulders when she showed cropped jackets with attached shoulder pads jutting out from the collarbone? One never knows for sure, given the designer’s legendary elusiveness, but it adds to the iconic label’s mystique to always keep people guessing.

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