Comme des Garçons Homme Plus Spring 2017 Menswear Collection
Fashion inspired by fairy tales follows a relatively conventional route: Cinderella and a transformative dress; Rumpelstiltskin spinning straw into gold. Rei Kawakubo, however, looked to a different source for her Spring 2017 Comme des Garçons show: Hans Christian Andersen’s story “The Emperor’s New Clothes.”
It’s the tale of an emperor hoodwinked by two charlatans into paying a king’s ransom for absolutely nothing—the emperor is convinced that he has purchased finery that appears invisible to those who are incompetent, stupid or unfit for office, when in fact he is simply parading through the streets naked. “The emperor’s new clothes” fast became an idiom—and its use to denounce all manner of fashion is ongoing, and vitriolic. Generally, the fashion it’s used to describe is the stuff that doesn’t look the way other clothes do: namely, expensive clothes that don’t appear especially so. Clothes with tears and holes, unfinished hems, deliberately synthetic. Everything that rebels against the centuries-old order of sumptuary luxe.
If the actual form of the clothes is abnormal—by which I mean unconventional—even worse. The explicit statement is that we’re all being taken for a ride; implicit is the notion that clothes are only as deep as the material they’re made of.