If you suffer from coulrophobia – the fear of clowns or clown images – best not view the slide show that accompanies this review of the Comme des Garçons Homme Plus collection.
But if you have any interest in new possibilities in adventurous menswear, click now! Rei Kawakubo outdid herself with her spring show, building out the hips with wondrous tailoring, tickling the eye with bold and colorful patterns, and giving everyone a bit of the heebie-jeebies with fright hair, creepy vintage masks and snippets of the “Psycho” soundtrack.
The Japanese fashion maverick laid out a narrow black runway that models soon realized could not accommodate two bulging morning coats, so they hopped on and off in their red and yellow shoes (with toe boxes of normal length, we should note.)
Hoops have been extending women’s skirts for centuries, and they’re a Kawakubo mainstay, but never applied to her menswear so extensively: inserted into the hems of handsome bell-shaped topcoats; distending checkered shirts and white T-shirts at the hipline, and making her oversize shorts resemble space shuttle booster nozzles.
The designer also added volume at the bottom of tailored jackets and coats with layers of crinkly peplums that brought to mind meringue, or a duvet. Zippers running up the spine of some coats and jackets could contain or release this extra fabric, and this industrial touch blunted the sweetness of the flaring shapes.
The ballooning pants in zany harlequin patterns were strictly for guys who can shape long balloons into a poodle. Leggings, stirrup and cigarette pants were a better foil to all the A-line shapes.
In notes distributed afterward, Comme Des Garçons noted the show referenced court jesters of the Middle Ages, who had the right to speak freely and give honest insights and advice. Kawakubo imagined “these jesters probably had punk spirit.”
She capped off her exhilarating display with fancy evening versions of the looks in gleaming and sparkling fabrics, carving those hoop shorts in thick satin. You’d be hard-pressed to find a cooler alterna-tux.