The two most iconic fashion clans of the United Kingdom did battle on the Comme des Garçons catwalk on Friday afternoon. Designer Rei Kawakubo pitched the refined aristocratic gentleman against the youthful rebellious punk. Tear it down to build it up: That was the idea behind Rei Kawakubo’s “Broken Tailoring” collection. The designer took a scalpel to men’s suits, the better to highlight their worth. “I wanted to break down the art of tailoring to show how much value it has,” she said in a statement.
Wearing artfully deconstructed outfits paired with polka-dot brogues, models in extravagantly sculpted fluorescent yellow wigs ambled through a mid-renovation Haussmann-style apartment near the Paris Opera. Kawakubo carved right angles into a double-breasted coat in a tapestry fabric depicting British hunting scenes, providing glimpses of the tartan shirt worn underneath. Pants were slashed from the knee down, while a black evening jacket came with a Fred Flintstone hem.
While the construction of jackets was flawless, there was nothing formal about how they were worn. Many were layered over tunics made of crisp shirting material, some with zip or buckle details, and Bermuda-length pleated culottes or baggy shorts, which gave the outfits an athletic spin.
Snap buttons were used as a decorative detail, either forming orderly rows on a paisley-patterned waistcoat, or following the outlines of a thick black squiggle pattern on a stripy coat.
With casual wear carving out a growing slice of the men’s clothing market, Kawakubo proved that loosening up doesn’t mean slacking off.