In an industrial side chamber of the Garage du Turenne, an old Martin Margiela haunt in the heart of the Marais, amid the metal tubes filed into cubby holes and lamps dangling from the exposed rafters, select guests perched on fold-up chairs, listening to the hum of an industrial cylinder hidden somewhere in this bomb-site of a space, evoking an experimental laboratory of sorts and, as such, making the perfect setting for the Comme des Garçons autumn/winter 2013 show.
When the models began parading slowly down the narrow concrete space left vacant in the center of the room, guests gazed on in quiet wonder at what the designer Rei Kawakubo, described backstage as being about “the infinity of tailoring.”
Models came down the runway in head pieces fashioned into twisted, wiry wigs in subtle winter colors. There were clown-like suits, with materials added on to the surfaces in bunches and ruffles without bounds to create exaggerated, cheeky, humorous silhouettes expanding upon deliberately ill-fitting suits.Materials were bunched up and folded onto a checked jacket to create a multi-dimensional pair of three-quarter length trousers puffed out with twists in the material, worn with this over-sized top half which cinched at the waist with a single button and featured arm designs each bearing a different set of clustered extras.In another look, oblong scraps of material embellished a gray suit, and were sewn on in multiple layers to the jacket’s exterior, creating wide shoulders and a surface that looked like it was sprouting more material. It was paired with wide school-boy like shorts covered in more scraps and worn over a loose gray shirt tucked out, revealing pale bear legs and boyish black pumps with ankle-high socks.Nothing glamorous here at all.Expanding on the theme, black oblong layers of material, like scraps left in the cutting room, were sewn on to the surface, beginning at the shoulders of the jacket and continued down to the ankles, creating an entire silhouette made up of small scraps of black material which made one think that Big Bird had gone couture for the night.Then came a crumpled back skirt suit with arms that blossomed below the elbow, looking like giant tulips about to drop to the floor.The exaggerated silhouettes of the collection were enhanced by stripes which were introduced in several pieces. In one case, exaggerated shoulders were created by adding more and more dimensions to the shape, extending out to the sides, which made this season’s broad shoulders seem narrow. In another striped creation, a coat was embellished with material twisted like a turban, which wound down the arms towards the wrists. For another suit, material was bunched into rose-like shapes and molded onto a dark pin striped suit, with ankles that tapered in towards the legs, creating a punkish cyber look which indeed took tailoring towards infinity. One gray suit with knee-length culottes, featured arms and shoulders which were so exaggerated that they resembled a kind of genetically enhanced queen bee with wings about to take flight. Some of the shoulder and arm designs were so gigantic that models had to turn sideways to allow other models to pass by. After a series of dark looks, mostly blacks and some grays, shades of wine red perhaps originating from the grape-like clusters up above on the models heads, made their way into the collection which concluded with a half-dozen multi-colored suits with dizzying arrays of pattern combinations in bright and cheerful colors, including both short suits and skirt suits, upon which the oversized flower clusters, almost dangling from the surfaces, were matched by the floral patterns on the materials calling for autumn and winter to be over and the spring to begin.