On the occasion of the Dior Men Winter 2021-22 collection designed by Kim Jones, we revisit the designer’s A Magazine alphabet with the letter ‘O’ for ornithology, a birdwatching story featuring the Scottish painter Peter Doig.
SS 2021, Tokyo
Rei Kawakubo’s ‘Dissonance’
by Noam Levinger & Arieh Rosen
“Towards the end of the Comme Des Garçons Spring Summer 2021 show held in Tokyo on Monday, October 19th, a model walked into the alarmingly red-lit room dressed in a Mini Mouse printed, graffiti-painted, transparent plastic ball gown. With all the textures, shapes and wonders of her appearance, I was still drawn to her hands, safely and comfortably placed within the strong curves of the dress – protected and cosy within the plastic surface.
It is nearly impossible to experience anything these days without reflecting on our current situation. Anything and everything plays a role in the emotional journey we are all forced to take.
Entering the industrial fairytale ballroom created by Rei Kawakubo, a first red dress emerged ringed with a striking print of the iconic Comme des Garçons ‘eyes’ by Filip Pagowski peeping out from under a reflecting layer of plastic. There we were on one hand, the observers scattered safely around the room covered with layers of masks and plastic protectors, and in front of us: a model in the ankle length, plastic-covered ‘eyes’ dress looking straight back.
The world we were drawn into travelled back and forth between 18th century costume and contemporary iconography. Coiled golden wigs by French hair designer Julien D’Ys were piled on top of heads; inspired, he said, by the angels that frame the arched doorways of the Cathedrale Saint Corentin in his native Brittany. Kawakubo-san created moments that emphasised strong feminine body shapes and introduced new forms by combining a range of materials and fabrics: matte PVC, fringed tinsel, ropes of satin and fishnet, origami rosettes, tablecloth lace.
Between moments of deafening silence, the urban noise soundtrack by Brooklyn-based sound artist Calx Vive ebbed and flowed, mixing with the sounds created by the outfits themselves. It was an enchanting ball, sucking us in completely to create a potent environment and a new warm sensation to the transparent plastic that has covered our lives of late. We all seem to be yearning for safety and comfort in the total unknown. And here, it was found within memories remixed anew.”
Words by Arieh Rosen
“The human brain always looks for harmony and logic.
When harmony is denied, where there is no logic, when there is dissonance…
a powerful moment is created which leads you to feel an inner turmoil and a tension
… that can lead to find positive change and progress.
The spirit of couture is disrupted for example by the CDG designed Disney and Bearbrick prints and the use of unexpected fabrics as well as in their illogical combinations and juxtapositions, not to mention the random graffiti interventions.”
Courtesy of Comme des Garçons
Discover this landmark 2004 issue anew, with a limited-edition reprint and collectible Maison Martin Margiela archive photo prints.
An essay by Professor Dilys Williams on positive evolution and a new collective conscience in the fashion industry, originally published inside A Magazine Curated By Lucie and Luke Meier, 2020.