Commes des Garçon’s Spring/Summer 2024 Ready-to-Wear Collection

“To break free of the gloomy present, I hope to present a bright and light future.” Much like Rick Owens, who’s also been overcome by a feeling of doom resistance, Rei Kawakubo’s counterintuitive response to the state of the world in 2023 was to roll out 18 huge balls of fun.

Playfulness and a sense of humor? These aren’t qualities that are often attributed to Kawakubo—or if they are, one’s always on guard for the catch. Visually, there didn’t seem to be one hidden among the bulky multicolored, bubbly fabric sculptures she sent out. There were neon graphics, tartan, Hawaiian hibiscus prints, and boots and trainers smothered with glittery stick-on gemstones. On the heads: plastic bob wigs in highlighter colors as if a child had drawn them. Or perhaps as a salute to Kawakubo’s great compatriot sister artist, Yayoi Kusama.

Non-seriousness, silliness even, might represent a radical stoic stance of sorts. The words break free in Kawkubo’s one-line press statement are surely a key. Freedom is her watchword—which includes countering what society imposes and “normal” public opinion, as well as any fixed expectation about the solemnity of her work or thoughts. It also stands for the creative freedom that comes from her independence, more precious to her than anything else, and so increasingly rare in times when the fashion industry seems bent on culling creativity everywhere.

This article was originally published on Vogue Runway.

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