The ever-evolving dynamics of the fashion have long moved past the confines of casual Fridays and an era of streetwear supremacy. The wave of homebound dressing following the pandemic has only amplified this, challenging conventional menswear in a subtle revolution. Amidst these fashion fluctuations, the seasoned vanguard of avant-garde fashion, Rei Kawakubo of COMME des GARÇONS Homme Plus, has unraveled her Spring/Summer 2024 collection in Paris — “Beyond Reality.”
A fresh yet poignant twist to traditional tailored attire, Kawakubo’s latest creations signal a departure from convention, as if the stitching of our known fashion reality has been undone and rewoven into a fascinating new dimension. Strikingly, the backbone of tailored men’s jackets has been transformed into drapery, with gathered fabric reminiscent of curtains, redefining our notion of structural fashion.
In a feat of genius, Kawakubo positions the armholes forward, transforming sleeves into alluring decorative tubes, liberating the arms in a bold reinterpretation of form and function. She pushes the boundaries further, incorporating an extra jacket as a quasi-cape — a nod to the Watteau back, or merging two jackets at the hem, dangling sleeves, collar, and lapels to fashion an offbeat tailcoat.
These unconventional designs, punctuated by a stiff white middy collar, a backward bib, or synthetic hair strands threading through armholes, bring a breath of fresh life into the typical black suit. The result? A riveting balance between glam and eerie, electrifying the standard sartorial silhouette.
“Loud green palm prints did something magical to a relaxed jacket with matching sweater and Bermuda shorts. Sensational,” says Kawakubo, her words painting a vivid image of a sartorial odyssey. Her collection, aptly named “Beyond Reality,” is an invitation to venture into uncharted fashion landscapes.
Exploring more daring tailoring possibilities than her contemporaries, she infuses her collection with extraneous sleeves, split and inverted trousers with waistbands embracing the ankles, and whimsical fringes of faux greenery. A noteworthy mention are the derby shoes designed as Siamese twins, boasting double toe-boxes either jutting out or layered.
Despite these seemingly radical sartorial experimentations, Kawakubo’s skilled hand ensures that they do not eclipse the underlying elegance of the collection. Her sharp eye for proportions, the luxe of her chosen fabrics, and the arresting allure of well-tailored suits still reign supreme. After all, in the words of Kawakubo herself, “in order to find a new world, we have to go beyond reality.” In this unique exploration of masculinity, Kawakubo reminds us of the endless possibilities fashion presents, blurring the boundaries between reality and fantasy.
© Photos: COMME des GARÇONS Homme Plus
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