PFW Day 4: 50 Shades of Punk at Comme des Garçons and Acne

Sex, punks and geometry lessons at PFW day 4...

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1) Junya Watanabe’s New Shapes

Gone were the African prints and tribal jewellery Watanabe showed for spring/summer 16. For autumn, the Japanese designer focused on a much simpler idea: mathematics. Obscuring the female body in a series of dresses and skirts comprised of three-dimensional cubes, circles and spheres in a range of bold crimson reds and neon pinks, they varied in degrees of wearability. Some pieces, most notably the opening black skirts, would make beautiful additions to an everyday wardrobe rotation, while others stood on their own as runway-only pieces to be considered and admired. It brought to mind origami, paper dolls and basic secondary school geometry all at once.

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2) Haider Ackermann Brings Sex Back

It’s been a runway season of loose, languid tailoring. With the exception of a Versace here or a Balmain there, we haven’t seen a lot of sex of the va-va-voom variety in fashion lately. So the sight of the second-skin trousers and dresses with hipbone-high slits Ackermann showed against a moody, sultry soundtrack almost came as a shock. We’ve been so at home in our flats and mom jeans, we forgot the allure of a tight cigarette leg and heel. Ackermann showed them in leather, velvet and metallic silks — all skin tight, all impossibly long, all showstopping. Ciara, Janet Jackson and Kelly Rowland, who were all sitting front row, seemed to approve.

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3) 50 Shades of Punk at Comme des Garçons and Acne

Acne has evolved a lot since its early days as a brand best known for its Skandi cool daywear and denim. In short, it’s become much more conceptual (at least on the runway), which is interesting for a brand that's so commercially popular. In the press notes, Creative Director Jonny Johansson said he was inspired by the American punk band, The Cramps. ‘I love how [they] were so expressive, forceful and provocative. I wanted to celebrate [guitarist] Poison Ivy and [lead singer] Lux Interior, and to match their attitude with the archetypes of Acne Studios.’ So there’s a punk element - a trending idea this runway season - at play here. But rather than rolling out some of the more familiar iconography (black leather, dark lips, studs, you know the formula), Johansson showed a less literal translation. The motorcycle jacket, a linchpin to the punk look, was completely stripped down to something new, but unrecognisable. Meanwhile, the boilersuit was done in leather and blown out to oversized proportions. These aren’t necessarily the easiest clothes to pull off, but that doesn’t mean the runway was completely devoid of more universally appealing, shoppable moments. A soft, slouchy wool coat in multi-coloured leopard print, for example, was a clear hit. 
 

When Rei Kawakubo, inarguably one of the fashion world’s most revolutionary game-changers, turns her attention to punk, it is safe to assume her interpretation will not be literal or easily picked apart. And to be honest, at first glance, her show was the opposite. One by one, models walked out to a music box version of the Nutcracker Suite, like toys come to life. There was the model Anna Cleveland in all her glory wearing piled-on petals, looking like a living flowerbomb. A series of equally oversized, wonderfully weird creations followed: pink suits of armour, a giant bulb of a dress made of three-dimensional ballet slippers and a grand finale of multilayered pink ruffles and frills. The clothes were challenging and energising, like punk rock so often is.

 
 

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