When I first started to study fashion at fashion college, I went to visit the Comme des Garçons shop at the FROM-1st building in the Minami Aoyama area. Though the shop is no longer there, I think it may have been the most difficult of all their shops for people to really see the merchandise. The shop wasn't large, nor was it bright enough to get a good look or allow the clothing to express itself fully. Rather, it was like a walk-in closet, with plenty of hanging clothes but without much space between them. Then, I unexpectedly caught sight of a suspender skirt. It was a gathered skirt in a glossy black color. The skirt was voluminous and had a beautiful shape, with two narrow suspender belts attached to the waist belt. Gazing at it, I realized that there was something very special about it. Especially around the bottom, which was so chaotic that it was alluring. I wondered if it was also gathered around the back, or if it was pleated inside. Anyway, it was obvious that the skirt had some special technique around the bottom.

At that time, I knew nothing about technique or fashion, but at the same time, I was not intimidated, nor was I overly careful. I spontaneously touched the skirt, with no second thoughts, curious about what secrets were hidden inside, and imagining the easy tricks that were predictably supposed to appear.

The material of the skirt was so frail and delicate that it snapped, even though I had touched it softly, as if it were shaking in a strong breeze. The material of the skirt was woven of rayon filament yarn and it was glossy like girl's black hair; looking like a lump of trembling shiny black jelly. Grasping its design was not easy, and the fact that there was not enough space in the shop made matters even worse. At any rate, I raised my hands and moved them from the waist belt down toward the bottom of the skirt, along some gathers, and pulled the bottom of the fabric in closer to me.

Though I had reached the bottom of the skirt, I couldn't identify any special design. I thought that it couldn't be! I was so sure I would have encountered some sort of unusual detail on the bottom.

Wondering if maybe it wasn't really meant to be a long skirt, I kept feeling it, curious to uncover its secrets. Finally, I found something that I thought was "it," at the edge of the skirt's hem, which ended in gathers and formed a band in the narrow piece of the fabric. What? Gazing at it, I realized that this narrow part was actually the belt, the waist belt! I had finally reached the starting point again, even though I ought to have reached the hem of the skirt. I couldn't understand what was happening, I was stupefied. After a while, I finally noticed that it was a balloon design skirt.

The design effort didn't end at the hem, but also extended to the hidden part. Even though I was still a student, I could easily imagine that the person who designed this skirt had put elaborate thought into it and had carefully measured how much the bodice should twist at the seams in order to show off its beauty and a beautiful figure. The designing wasn't contained to only details, but was a process that to be digested it philosophically. Once I did that, I realized that the design was complete and beautiful. Having just started to study fashion, I had never thought about approaching it in such terms before, and I stood there, paralyzed with utter amazement.

This was Comme des Garçons, and though it continues to create shocking collections, this was the moment I was baptized by the creativity of Rei Kawakubo for the first time. I had the opportunity to directly hear from Yohji Yamamoto that encountering Comme des Garçon's clothing for the first time was his greatest shock. He told me that he was dumbstruck the very moment that he accidentally saw the simple polka-dot shirts hanging casually in her small shop.

I feel that the creativity of her brand is so much greater during the period when the popular winds of fashion are against her, like today, rather than in the period when she first swept the fashion world, in the 1980s. As I keep working on my own creations, I feel happy to know that she exists side by side with someone like me who is so far behind that I can only see her back.

Isshi Kanamaru 10. 2013




そろそろ裾辺りの筈なのにそれらしいデザインは何も出て来ませんでした。そんなはずはない、と思いました。 何故なら明らかに尋常ではない表情が裾に現れていたので。