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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Hooked: Comme des Garçons PLAY X Converse

Never one to pass up a juicy collaboration, Comme des Garçons is joining forces (again) with Converse on a limited-edition line of sneakers. Following their 2007 debut with Junya Watanabe Man, the Chuck Taylor All Star line is getting the full Rei make-over. But rather than spinning into the conceptual outer reaches, the collaboration goes back to basics—and this time Comme's secondary PLAY line is getting in on the action. The four pared-down styles—two high-tops and two oxfords in black or white canvas—hark back to the original military classics, offered in various color-blocking combos and embossed with PLAY's slightly disarming, unblinking heart logo.

The shoes will hit the ground running at the end of August at Comme des Garçons boutiques worldwide, as well as select PLAY retailers. At just $100 a pop, the collection shows a commitment to recession-friendly prices—and we can think of no better way to spring into fall.

—Franklin Melendez

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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Hint Tip: Gotscho

In this era of conglomerate-sponsored art, French artist Gotscho is that rare breed, a stylish loose cannon whose take on fashion consumption has a decidedly sinister tinge. Gotscho has been putting clothes center stage in his installations since the 90s, through collaborations with Maison Martin Margiela, Yohji Yamamoto and Comme des Garçons, to name a few.

For this month's Carré Rive Gauche, an annual group show of 120 galleries (antiques and fine art) on Paris's Left Bank, gallerist Eric Allart turned his space over to Gotscho to show his dark and mysterious "Ladies First" series (through June 19). In one piece, fragments of silk slip through fitting-room doors as though the customer has dematerialized through the looking glass like a repentant shopaholic desperate to get out. Nearby, a silver rolling rack sports a dozen seemingly banal garment bags with a row of identical black pumps ready for transport, one atop the other. It's only on closer inspection that you find the bags have an embroidered burkha slit at eye level, and the shoes are fused together in a permanent state of travel readiness.

Which begs the question: does Gotscho love or hate la mode? "I'm on both sides. I'm eternally attracted yet always looking for an escape," he says. "I was shocked the first time I saw a woman wearing a burkha. I didn't understand how it was possible, but I wanted to say something about it diplomatically. A garment bag is for travel and shoes are for walking, so both are about movement. What you have here is the possibility of movement, but the reality of immobility."

For the upcoming couture shows in Paris, Bruno Frisoni, artistic director of French shoe house Roger Vivier, will unveil his own pair of Gotschoesque-fused footwear, for those who prefer to look at stilettos than wear them.

—Rebecca Voight

Ladies First W10 (2007), Ladies First W31 (2007)

Odalisque (2007)

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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Comme of Silence

The old Comme des Garçons Guerrilla store in Los Angeles has finished its transformation into M'ouments (below), which is kind of the same thing, only different. (Like we need to tell you there are no rules in Rei's universe.) Meanwhile, and this is hush hush, expect exciting news soon involving Comme and New York...

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Monday, June 1, 2009

Sign of the Times

Why is Takashi Murakami wearing what looks like a hand brace? Oh, only because he's signing 300 "Magical Princess" posters for the Vogue Nippon launch at the old Comme des Garçons Black store in Tokyo. In its place, and now open, the new Comme des Garçons x Vogue Nippon concept shop promises exclusive klabs with Chanel, Fendi and Murakami himself. Brace yourself...

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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Hooked: Be@rbrick

Not much time left to see the three larger-than-life Be@rbrick figures installed in the windows of Dover Street Market, temporarily transforming the shopping mecca into a conceptual animal preserve. Part of Comme des Garçons' ongoing collaboration with the iconic Japanese toymaker MedicomToy, the ursine display embodies the new Black line, preppy basics embossed with the Be@rbrick silhouette—which pretty much amounts to Comme's Play line, but with anthropomorphized bears. An adorable assortment of T-shirts, sweatshirts, button-downs and the like will tempt even the most discerning of tastes (we'll resist the obvious Goldilocks reference here). But our favorite from the bountiful menagerie are the charm keychains, which feature the cuddly critters in colorful metals. More portable than the seven-foot variety, they let you take your toys with you wherever you go.

—Franklin Melendez

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Saturday, March 7, 2009

A Stylish Samedi

In New York, front-row celebrity seating is not to be tampered with, but the French like to keep things mysterious, such as putting Kanye West in the second row at Comme des Garçons. While we waited for an outburst, ever-contrary Rei Kawakubo sent out blankets moonlighting as parkas. Earlier in the day, her protege Junya Watanabe had similar thoughts with swirling black parka dresses and oversized collars in a Victori-goth meets space-age presentation.

Junya Watanabe

Greece-born Sophia Kokosalaki pampered guests with champagne, strawberries and chocolate. Bubbly was a perfect way to start a sunny Paris afternoon at the Jardins des Tuileries. Kokosalaki presented her signature draping as well as a collection of party-favor hits, ranging from sheer and sculptural minidresses to bedazzled rocker-chic pants and jackets.

Later in the afternoon, Colette was a madhouse. Not only were the weekend crowds milling about among the new Alexander Wang handbags, but there was a roster of events that deserved a fashion calendar in itself. Designers Emily Current and Merrit Elliot were on hand for a trunk show, and Inez van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin were signing their new work for Stern magazine. Meanwhile, Erin Wasson for RVCA pieces were up on mannequins and the stylish Texan model herself made an appearance.

Jeremy Scott kept his show lighthearted and childlike with color, polka dots and Mickey Mouse. The Disney motif will surely spill over into his after-party tonight at Regine's.

—Bee-Shyuan Chang

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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Keeping Up with Stephen Jones

Because you asked, here's a progress report on friend and milliner (and Hinterview subject) Stephen Jones, who has a major retrospective coming up at London's Victoria & Albert museum, timed to coincide with London Fashion Week. Considering he supplies the hats (usually large, complicated, highly festooned concoctions) for a half dozen labels each season—i.e. Marc Jacobs, John Galliano, Giles—that means he's busier than a one-legged stripper, to use a drag colloquialism we know he'd appreciate.

But first up, he's working on the hats for Dior's pre-fall collection next Thursday, as well as Dior's couture show later this month. He says the latter haven't been drawn up yet, just abstracted, which we think means wish-listed. But even before Couture Week comes Men's Week, and Stephen has Galliano Homme, Walter Van Beirendonck and Comme des Garçons booked, plus a surprise. Well, yes, a surprise, but it's the designer's first foray into menswear, so we'll give you two guesses who it could be.

Stephen's own fall collection, called Albertopolis (Queen Victoria's nickname for South Kensington), mirrors the 300 or so hats of his V&A exhibit. The concept is a reinterpretation of past hats for today, including those inspired by Schiaparelli and geometry to familiar pieces worn by Madonna, Boy George and other slebs. It's Stephen's world; we just live in it.

photo by Justine

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Freaks and Greeks

Prada may have indefinitely postponed the launch of its first Greek shop in Athens because of ongoing student riots, but that's not stopping the local avant-garde from forging ahead. Dimitris Papadopoulos, the creator of Comme des Garcons' guerrilla store there, has just opened his latest concept shop, Number 3, in the same space, selling a variety of indie labels, Comme among them. He likes using etymologically fancy words like tabula rasa to describe how the store is a clean slate, unbound by tradition. We applaud the effort and wish we had him around when we confuse baklava with balaclava. Or, even less forgivable, Miuccia Prada and Machu Picchu. C'mon, you know you've done it, too...

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Shop Girl

If you think you're the biggest fan of Comme des Garçons for H&M, you haven't seen this video of a 12-year-old girl rapping about it. "Rei Kawakubo, can I be your friend? Rei Kawakubo, stalker fan letters I will send..."

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Comming to Blows

Rebecca Voight bought Comme des Garçons for H&M and lived to tell about it...

I lined up in front of H&M's Blvd Haussmann flagship in Paris half an hour before the 9:30 am opening yesterday and found myself surrounded by, and bonding with, a United Nations of Reiettes, as in devotees of Rei Kawakubo. A French girl in a black down jacket and red ballet flats, who'd been through this before when H&M collaborated with Viktor & Rolf, had already pre-shopped and priced her wish list online. A Japanese girl who works in Alber Elbaz's atelier at Lanvin, but who had the day off, worried she might collapse in the battleground we were about to enter. And during our entire vigil, a chain-smoking Belgian in head-to-toe Chanel, obviously part of an eBay gang, called friends in line in other European cities to compare conditions and fine-tune her buying strategy. Then a brawl ensued near us when a couple of Comme “fans" tried to crash the line and were ejected by the ferocious crowd.

Once inside it was like being on the set of Caligula. And, by all accounts, this year was tame compared to last year's Cavalli for H&M launch as apparently Comme des Garçons fans possess more decorum. But clearly that's relative. I witnessed clothes being trampled on by a diverse gaggle of style hounds and usually timid Japanese girls stripping between the racks of the men’s department to avoid the impossible lines for the fitting rooms.

Despite this, everyone in the store was happy. It was a slightly delirious happiness—like laughing gas. It wasn't long before the Metro was full of happy, mostly Japanese, customers clutching bags bursting with enough polka dots to make Yayoi Kusama jump for joy.

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Print Shop

Printed Matter may be a legendary art-book store on New York's West Side, but it's also the name of an exhibition showcasing 40 years of Comme des Garçons imagery, through November 22. Ad campaigns, pages from SIX magazine (which CdG published from 1988-91) and the work of Argentinean art collective Mondongo (seen here) span all six floors of Dover Street Market. Because Rei Kawakubo doesn't just design fashion; she "designs the company called Comme des Garçons," says the Dover site...

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Comme-ing Soon

The time is finally near. Next week, to celebrate thirty years in Japan, Louis Vuitton will open a three-month-long pop-up shop in the Comme des Garçons store in Omotesando, Tokyo. (Anyone interested in the Japanese obsession with LV absolutely has to read Deluxe by Dana Thomas.) These are our two faves from Rei Kawakubo's six limited-edition "party" bags, as she calls them, using the classic LV monogram—how much are you loving the kawaii animal charms, by the way? Bags are available by in-person order only (i.e. no telephone or Internet orders) and delivered to their chosen Louis Vuitton store several months later...

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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Your First Look: Comme des Garçons for H&M

The collaboration is everything we hoped for: deconstructed, mismatched, ill-fitting. But how annoying that the Japanese get it first when it launches in early November. No fair!

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Comme and Get It

Comme des Garçons' temple of creative chaos, Dover Street Market, announces the opening of a one-off shopping experience at hot auctioneers Phillips de Pury (Howick Place, Victoria, London SW1). Named DOVER STREET MARKET Market, Comme pieces from fall 2004 to spring 2007 will be offered at what they're calling "stupendous prices," plus there'll be archive picks from Pierre Hardy, Raf Simons, Dior Homme, Maison Martin Margiela, Undercover, Number (N)ine, Nina Ricci, John Galliano and more.

In true democratic mode, the event is more a marathon than a race, with stock regularly replenished throughout the two-day period of Sunday, May 25 - Monday, May 26 (10 am - 7 pm). So, ahem, if you did have a heavy Saturday night at a Eurovision song contest party, you can get up late on Sunday, talk about how you're never drinking again and still make it down in time to bag some threads. Or, failing that, loiter around on your lunch break on Monday, whatever suits.

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Friday, March 28, 2008

More goodness from Poland...


Monday, February 4, 2008

Would Comme forget you, Los Angeles?

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