Fall 2017 Menswear
January 20, 2017
• Comme des Garçons’ Fall 2017 Homme Plus collection walked the runway just short of an hour before Donald J. Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States.
• I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that fact was not lost upon Rei Kawakubo, a designer who, set to be honored at the Met this May, is always plugged into the global social and political mood.
• “Boyhood” was the theme assigned to this season’s lineup—that explains the candy-colored, rubber toys, a collaboration with artist Scott Hove, that embellished Kawakubo’s tunic tops and often asymmetrical or artfully patchworked jackets.
• These toys, molded in the shape of trains, cars, and dinosaurs—typical boyish fare—took on a perverse essence when coupled with the tactile, black, navy, and wine clothing, and the general tone of the show, which was unnervingly foreboding, even a bit dystopian.
• Despite the jovial hues of the aforementioned playful embellishments and the abstracted camo prints which, done in an ’80s palette of lime green, turquoise, and bright yellow, came courtesy of artist Candida Alvarez, this show had a rather dark, twisted aura.
• The music added to that feeling. Kawakubo chose to soundtrack this romp with the tunes of King Dude, a musician who once told The Guardian that he aimed to produce, “the most horrifying music I could.” One particularly aggressive tune that featured in the show was titled “Fear is All You Know.”
• With their techno-colored bowl-cut wigs, oversized, layered garments, and indifferent or sometimes angsty expressions, Kawakubo’s “boys” seemed deeply disturbed—beautifully so, but disturbed nonetheless.
• Was their boyhood stolen from them? Was their innocence lost while being brought up in this warped, backwards world we’re living in?
• There was a rebellious club kid vibe here, too. Sure, the wigs contributed to it, but so did the shrunken boleros, the bare chests under formal blazers and tailcoats, the custom Nikes, and the array of cropped tops and vests, some of which looked like bralettes.
• And then came that jacket—the one that you’ve no doubt seen pop up again and again in your Instagram feed. On the back, in a script font, it read “Freedom.”
• Indeed, there is a freedom that comes with the naiveté of childhood. But there is also a freedom in truth and honesty, which one can only truly appreciate with age.
• Like I said, I have to assume Kawakubo knew exactly what she was doing with this collection. It couldn’t have been more on point.