Comme des Garçons Homme Plus Spring 2022 Menswear Collection

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“Flowers are not there only for happy times. They exist also for tough, sorrowful, and painful times. Even a tiny roadside flower can heal our shredded heart.” This poignant comment from Rei Kawakubo was emailed from Comme des Garçons ahead of the release of her video recording of her Homme Plus show yesterday. For the past few seasons, nailed down under COVID restrictions at her headquarters in Tokyo, all of her presentations have striven to take on present reality, while also offering some kind of morale-building resistance against it. Probably that inner tussle between the melancholic and the wildly creative has been one of the keys to her character, all along.

So here it is, projected into summer 2022: her floral tribute to men. It features artwork by the collage artist Travis Bedel, aka Bedelgeuse, whose splicings of anatomical drawings and flowers have a fusion of the macabre and the surreally beautiful that is a very Comme wavelength. His imagery is printed on the backs of snowy faux-fur trimmed coats and a long white cotton shirt, at the opening of a sequence of Kawakubo’s flower-disrupted interventions into masculine wardrobe archetypes.

She’s been hacking and dismantling tailoring for so long that her shapes have become classics. The cutaway tailcoat; her diced, pared-away, and hybridized jackets; the things she does with motorcycle jackets: all these are givens. These days though, the dandyish/punkish swagger of those templates has teamed up with volumes that have crossed over from her womenswear. Is it a dress, is it a coat? Is that a skirt or a pair of shorts? Any of the above. She’s been championing the non-gendering of clothing and fabrics for a long time, too.

With Ibrahim Kamara’s abstract, hand-made papier-mache headpieces going on, it struck an almost childlike chord—or at least nothing dark and forbidding. Multicolored flower prints can’t help but add cheer to any collection. It’s a long stretch to imagine the complex, reticent Rei Kawakubo as a cheerleader of optimism. Nevertheless, when she looks into next year, is she hoping for better times?

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