A Comme des Garçons presentation is an opportunity to see a masterclass in high fashion engineering, social conscience, and original, poetic design.
How best to describe the emotional upheaval sparked by Rei Kawakubo's show's opening scene on Saturday night: A huge hood covered with black lace, with deep white material crumples framing a little face nervously looking out.
Not only is the conflict in Ukraine causing grief and fear, but there is also concern over the spread of intolerance, the erosion of liberties, and a troubling trend toward more authoritarian forms of administration.
"A lamentation for the misery in today's world. The Japanese innovator used two phrases to describe the collection, which was her first to be displayed on a Parisian runway since the coronavirus outbreak began.
Naturally, the parade of enormous hooded figures by Kawakubo made you think of "The Handsmaid's Tale" and all its dark overtones. They occasionally resembled the horn-shaped vents on vintage cruise ships when viewed from a profile, which also made you consider the migrant situation.
This collection was pure design genius on steroids and could be read in numerous ways. Every exit displayed a previously unseen shape that was occasionally unusual, frequently gorgeous, and was made of exquisite brocades, luxurious lace, and other formal and ceremonial textiles.
The Empire line actually turned on its head as she shifted the centre of gravity downward and outward. The puffy sleeves of a Disney princess dress were worn upside down as bizarre pantaloons, giving it the appearance of having been dipped in tar. Flattering? Actually, no. However, it awoke and puzzled the eye, as Kawakubo's audacious ideas often do.
A bubble of stiff white ruffles and wispy feathers provided a moment of peace and beauty because Kawakubo's investigation of difficult issues always casts a shadow of hope.
Among the designers spellbound by the solemn spectacle on a simple grey runway were Simone Rocha and Rick Owens.
When Owens left, he was surrounded by street style photographers who were either drawn to him by his popularity or his Frankenstein thigh boots. He stated, "I wanted that could have gone on forever." She certainly puts her money where her mouth is, doesn't she? "I'm always talking about doing things that promote thinking outside of what's traditional, don't I?"