In the series “What I Loved Yesterday,” Harper’s Bazaar editors highlight one standout look from the previous day at Paris Fashion Week.
A lot of designers think about joy, lightness, and rebirth when designing a spring collection. According to her one-line statement, Comme des Garçons designer Rei Kawakubo was in a familiar headspace to create her spring 2024 lineup. “To break free of the gloomy present,” she wrote, “I hope to present a bright and light future.” The execution, however, was unlike anything else shown at Paris Fashion Week so far.
Stare long enough at any of the 18 looks, and you'll see fragments of more commonplace spring collections: floral prints, lace overlays, pops of bubblegum pink and cobalt blue. The whole these parts created was an entirely unorthodox pleasure. In one look, a model was wrapped up in a sequin, polka-dotted fabric with a tube opening at her neck, alternating with snaking layers of pink tulle. In another, a geometric printed shirt with extra-long sleeves clashed with shorts in a slightly different triangular print, topped by a pink..something with the texture of a loofah.
Not a single model's hand could be seen: Either their arms were swallowed whole by the proportions of their garments or their hands were covered by geometric rainbow gloves. Sure, it was avant-garde, but it had a sense of play—the energy of a childhood dress-up session filtered through the expertise of a legendary designer.
Models made a literal a head-to-toe commitment to colorful contrarianism. The beauty looks involved blunt cropped wigs in varying shades of neon; some had the texture of hair, while others were a plastic helmet with an embossed floral surface. On their feet, models wore sneakers and pointed-toe boots coated in costume jewelry gems, carnation-like flowers made of sequins, and puffy butterfly charms. Each came paired with purple or magenta ankle socks.
After weeks of collections that tilted between business casual and business formal, 18 looks of pure, unfettered, extra-glittery expression were a feast for my eyes. I can't think of many "real world" applications for these pieces other than a future Rihanna red carpet appearance. (Fans will remember how she expertly wore another Comme des Garçons ball of exuberance for the 2017 event.) It doesn't matter. In every unconventional shape and shock of texture, they conveyed all the wonder and curiosity of spring fashion at its best.
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