Rei Kawakubo is among the most respected and unconventional designers in contemporary fashion. As the driving force behind Commes des Garçons, she has continually challenged current ideals of body shape, garment construction and use of colour. From the moment the label sprang to fame with its first presentation in Paris back in 1981, the world of fashion has never been the same. Comme des Garçons quickly became the preferred label of the avant-garde and the highly independent. Whenever I think of the label I'm reminded by a sentence penned by Cathy Horyn in her NY Times piece, Gang of Four. "Kawakubo has been making clothes for nearly 40 years, always under the label Comme des Garçons, which means ''like some boys'' and in a way suggests a gang." Over the last four decades, Kawakubo has amassed quite a gang of followers thanks to her radical approach to fashion design.. Amongst them is One Nine Zero Six's very own Dean Webster who treasures a single breasted suit from 1988.
Dean Webster and the Comme des Garçons suit.
"My treasured item has to be my black Comme Des Garcons Homme two button single breasted wool suit (black of course) and was purchased from the original Comme store on Fulham Road.
It states on the inside care label, like a discreet badge of honour, the date AD1988 and, most importantly, its made in Japan credentials.
The jacket has an exaggerated shoulder line and wide lapels with a dropped notch and is shorter and boxier in body length, indicative of the zeitgeist that the Japanese Dark Wave designers brought to men’s fashion in the mid to later 1980s.
The trousers are high waisted with grown on waistband, dropped belt loops and a double pleat front, cinch back waist adjuster and what would have been called a ‘peg’ silhouette at the time (very full at the top of the trouser, tapering from the knee quite severely to 16” bottoms).
I guess that it’s almost a ‘zoot suit’ but without the longer line jacket of its obvious design origins.
The fabric is a 100% wool jacquard and upon closer inspection, the jacket and trouser fabrics are mismatched weaves. The jacket is a horizontal slub rib, almost boucle-like texture and the trousers are a cross hatch version of the same weave. The buttons are real horn.
I would almost certainly have worn it with a white shirt, fastened at the neck without a tie and with a pair of black suede, crepe-soled, side buckled creepers (I still have a version of the same shoe in my wardrobe to this day with white leather piping on the front apron and buckle trim).
It’s a thing of real beauty to me, in great condition and still looks relevant."
Dean Webster, Creative Director of One Nine Zero Six by Gymphlex