Writing a review of Rei Kawakubo’s fashion shows is always a challenge. As they say, “There are a thousand Hamlets in a thousand people’s eyes,” but for many, Kawakubo embodies a thousand different visions of herself. This season at the 2023 Paris Fashion Week, the 80+-year-old designer known as “Rei Grandmother” made a dramatic return to her roots, presenting a collection that was both rebellious and heartfelt, suggesting that perhaps the true endgame of fashion is a return to one’s original inspiration.
Kawakubo’s rebellious and avant-garde designs stole the show at the 2023 Paris Fashion Week. Her 23AW collection featured 11 different musical pieces and a floor adorned with different colored threads, reminiscent of the orbits of the solar system. The models, resembling walking sculptures, once again showcased the designer’s unique sense of style, proving that Kawakubo is an interesting, multifaceted, and enigmatic personality.
Continuing with her signature rebellious style, Kawakubo brought even more drama and avant-garde designs to the 2023 Autumn/Winter collection. Twisted smoking pipes, clean hats, patchwork fabric strips, and 3D decorative black capes were assembled like an explosion of the universe, and the models strutted down the runway as walking sculptures, making the 23AW collection even more dramatic.
It’s worth noting that this collection also featured a collaboration between CDG Kawakubo and Salomon, producing the latest 2023 Autumn/Winter collection of shoes. The classic black and white colors and unique PULSAR ADVANCED sock-style silhouette design, combined with a thick midsole configuration, make these shoes visually stunning, comfortable, and practical. The logos printed on the insoles also highlight the prestigious collaboration between the two brands.
When it comes to Kawakubo, many people associate her with her iconic short hair and black clothing designs, as well as her rebellious spirit. She once said, “I never want to lose my ability to rebel.” Her designs always embody a never-retreating spirit of rebellion, and her inspiration seems never-ending.
Kawakubo has redefined beauty with her asymmetric, curved designs, sparking a wave of rebellious Japanese fashion that swept through the industry. Beauty can be broken, non-structural, and non-sexual but hidden, and this is why her expensive and unusual clothes come with instructions on how to wear them.
Overall, Kawakubo has perfectly balanced creativity and commerce in her designs, and her 23AW collection at the 2023 Paris Fashion Week once again demonstrated her unique and avant-garde sense of style.