Comme Des Garçons Shirt Fall/Winter 2014 Paris

By Matthew Schneier
Rei Kawakubo has said that if she could have invented one garment, it would have been the white shirt. “It’s a fundamental part of a man’s wardrobe,” her husband, translator, and company CEO, Adrian Joffe, said on her behalf. “Shirt, jacket, and pants are the fundamental basis.”

Conveniently enough that’s what Comme des Garçons Shirt makes, with an emphasis on the titular shirts. The line, the only Comme des Garçons collection made entirely in France, represents a third of the label’s menswear: There’s Homme Plus, the “engine,” which is given pride of place among the three on the Paris runway; Homme Deux, the more office-friendly line of slightly twisted classic styles; and Shirt, which functions as the baby of the house and often as an entry point to its esoteric sensibility. (At 23 years old, though, the baby has outlasted plenty of its competitors and is now in a comfortable adolescence.)

Shirt’s small show, held the day after Homme Plus, offered its seasonal variations on its fundamental theme. For Fall, pants were uniformly cropped or rolled, shirts shown entire; the sense pervades that tucking one in would amount to a violation. (CDG is nothing if not strict in its preferences.) They are detailed with patchworking, ruffles, double plackets, and bubble-shaped appliqués that called to mind some of the details of the Homme Plus collection. The two lines are entirely distinct, Joffe said, but they do often connect with one another. “She’s the same person,” he said with a shrug.

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She is only one, but Shirt takes in many. It is the line where Comme des Garçons does the majority of its collaborating with artists, brands, and companies. It currently makes shoes with The Generic Man and a line of apparel with Disney, featuring archival drawings of Mickey and friends; a recent collection was made in tandem with George Lucas’ Star Wars franchise, and before that, there were three years with Fred Perry. This season, Kawakubo invited Nicolas Buffe, a French designer living in Tokyo, into the fold. Among other pursuits, Buffe designs sets and costumes for Paris operas, and his drawings of stage sets and costumed performers were printed (and then polka dotted, colored in, or otherwise Comme-ified) on shirts, shorts, and trousers.

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