There are few people who embrace the anarchistic, against-the-grain punk spirit as fully as Comme des Garçons’ Rei Kawakubo. Since launching her brand in 1969, the Japanese designer has continuously dismissed the status quo in favor of doing things her way. So it's fitting, then, that during a time when the bulk of the fashion industry is scurrying to conform to some yet-to-be-decided-upon new system, Kawakubo would call on that punk spirit for her Fall 2016 collection. More specifically, she imagined what punks in the 18th century might look like. “The eighteenth century was a time of change and revolution,” said Kawakubo in a statement.
Comme des Garçons’ rebels donned sculptural, floral-print samurai armor made with silks from Lyon, baby pink vinyl bondage gear, and a red dress that looked like some combination of rosebuds and the ventricles of a heart. Models stoically walked the narrow white runway with furry sneakers and mohawk top knots as songs from Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker played on a xylophone echoed throughout the raw Paris show space. Between the music and the palette, there was a sense of innocence here, but it was coupled with strength. Anna Cleveland, who opened the show, also closed it in a pink vinyl miniskirt and a huge cape with tiers of ruffles that spanned from her shoulders to the floor. She walked quickly during her final turn, which was a contrast to the slow, steady pace of the rest of the show. She was determined, just as Kawakubo seems determined to stay her own path. Indeed, there is beauty in resistance.