I remember there was a time when I would be awaiting fashion week eagerly, hoping to see a fresh new take on the classics from the designers worldwide. Unfortunately, it seems that season after season, the general level of creativity going into fashion design has diminished greatly and we are now left with a certain fashion ennui. Of course, I am not referring to the J.Crew and Club Monaco of this world, whose customer bases have come to expect a certain classical style, but rather to bigger fashion houses that created revolutions of their own.
In the past, the big designer houses used to create fashion upheavals and had iconic shapes and signature pieces that were immediately recognizable. Chanel’s little black jacket, Alexander McQueen’s oyster dress and bumsters, Azzedine Alaïa’s figure sculpting dresses, Christian Dior’s Bar suit and Yves Saint Laurent’s Smoking suit come to mind but few current designers have the same appeal. Perhaps pressured by parent companies that are always urging for profits and the constant replicas by stores like Zara and ASOS, the past couple of years have showcased runways filled with clothes that were absolutely interchangeable and commercial. However there are still a few brands that keep my faith in fashion alive each season and one of them is Comme Des Garçons.
Started in 1969 by designer Rei Kawakubo, the brand became a success in Japan in the 1970s. The main colour of choice is black, the fabric preferred tends to be distressed and the untrained fashion designer surprises year after year with clothing that often defies logic and convention. Over the years, Rei added a list of fantastic collaborating designers to her label including Junya Watanabe, Tao Kurihara, Fumito Ganryu and Kei Nimomiya, each bringing in their own aesthetic and voice to the brand while still working in unison with the mother line. The Comme des Garçons company now includes subdivisions including leather goods and perfumes and are perhaps most popularly known for their Comme des Garçons PLAY line and its iconic heart illustration.
I recently acquired this Junya Watanabe Comme des Garçons piece and I could not be happier with my purchase. Junya’s line is easily identifiable due to his love for boro and he always puts his own spin on the traditional Japanese patchwork technique. While this jacket is not boro per se, Junya still manages to incorporate his love of patchwork into the design. This piece remains fairly cohesive with the rest of my wardrobe which includes a wide range of shades of blue, while still keeping things more interesting. Pair it up with a full monochrome look to make it a statement piece or on top of a striped shirt for a semi- nautical look.
Avid lovers of Comme des Garçons and Rei Kawakubo can catch the brand new Metropolitan Museum exhibit honouring the works of the designer when it opens on the first Monday in May. If you're in New York during that time, you should definitely check it out if you want to know how to dress like boys.
Jacket: Junya Watanabe COMME DES GARÇONS/ Sweater: Margaret Howell/ Pants: COS/ Shoes: J.Crew X New Balance/ Glasses: Ollie Quinn/ Leaf Ring: COS/ Band ring: White feather designs