Comme des Garçons Fall 2024 Ready-to-Wear: Anger Management Meets Avant-Garde Fashion

Do you use fashion to lift your mood, or to reflect how you really feel deep down inside?

At her Comme des Garçons show on Saturday, Rei Kawakubo didn’t sugarcoat her message: “This collection is about my present state of mind. I have anger against everything in the world, especially against myself,” she said in a provided statement.

Her mesmerizing show unfurled like a theater piece, each model in some glossy, blackened Marie Antoinette-esque getup, several enacting various approaches to anger management. One stopped halfway down the runway and threw a tantrum, huffing and stomping her feet. Several models veered off the path to confront random guests in the front row, pressing their faces or their bulging, bow-festooned skirts towards them. Another succumbed to her flight instinct, but ultimately returned to complete the circuit.

The clothes were imposing in scale and construction: crude box shapes held together with industrial zips and stacked on the body; pannier skirts in black faux leather festooned with roughly-knotted bows; big coats with a puckered surface, like blisters, or with jutting vertical fins that from a distance brought to mind razor blades.

Some of the black surfaces were printed with barbed wire or chain motifs, but others were stamped with anemone flowers, or whorled into big rosettes.

It seems anger does not preclude some romance, and dollops of glitz. A fuzzy cape and skirt fringe came shot with silver lurex threads, and a dense jacquard, glossy like wet tar, was chosen for an off-kilter jacket slashed open to accommodate the huge skirt underneath.

Tall Marge Simpson hairstyles compelled some models to put their anger aside for a moment and duck their heads under the hot spotlights hung low over the runway. A piano, playing Beethoven slightly angrily, accompanied their lilting runway walks.

As is her custom, Kawakubo did not emerge for a runway bow, and remained backstage, silently fuming. But her finale look was another blistered coat but in gleaming white and dangling pretty grosgrain ribbons and little bundles of tulle, suggesting — perhaps — a turn away from the taciturn.

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