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Thread: The Comme des Garçons "Universe"

  1. #141

    Default Re: The Comme des Garçons "Universe"

    [quote user="Seventh"]


    I wouldn't be surprised if Rei would enjoy this, I think her work has always been about forcing the discussion and analysis of fashion on topics that we perhaps thought were self-evident.




    Liking or not liking the collection is almost irrelevant, it seems to be about opening possibilities of what a garment can do or address. I love her work because it makes me think, even when I am not enamored by the objects that she is making, because she is pushing me to define what I think clothing is, and tearing up some of my assumptions in the process.

    [/quote]


    This is what I love about her too. I think her collections have been many things over the past few years--sometimes purely playful, sometimes iconoclastic, sometimes explorations of the limits of form and what a garment can express. Sometimes a collection is about "Anti-conservatism," or "bad taste," in her words; at others, it's about simply "cutting without a pattern,"and what it means to do this, historically and formally.If you are actually looking for new ideas and for opportunities to think, rather than trying to force her intoanarrowly defined culturalmovement, I think she still offers a great deal. Some of thetfs threads on recent CDG collections have been fantastic examples of the way she continues to provoke thought.


    It's true, as Johnny mentioned in another thread, that she is no longer a major influence on the way modern women dress, but that her thinking and methods continue to inspire other designers and that she is therefore still an important force, even if indirectly. I think this is another reasonwhy the idea of the collaboration is interesting--many of her ideas have already surfaced in mainstream fashion and even in the way that fashion-conscious people dress. So the venture is fitting, commercially, creatively, and culturally.

    [quote user="Seventh"]




    This whole Postmodernism and Modernism debate is frustrating me a bit. The terms are big, unwieldy ideas, and people are making a lot of assumptions about what Post modernism means that I don't think are totally accurate (or at least are up for debate). Wouldn't it be better to narrow the focus of the discussion and speak directly about CDG and what they are trying to accomplish than trying to fit Rei into a generalized movement?




    [/quote]


    I completely agree with this.That's partially why I have tried, here and earlier, to point out the differences between her collections.It's reductiveand inaccurate tostick her in a post-modern box. Doubley so, when that box itself is a reductive view of postmodernism. I think casem was correct to point out that the discussion has fallen into a pattern of high modernism vs. pomo, but I think those parameters are inappropriate, not to mention severely limiting. This is exactly what I was trying to address in the first few comments I posted here. Unfortunately,efforts to think outside the box have been strongly discouraged.


    thanks for all the great posts, it is a pleasure to hear from you again! [51]
    ...I mean the ephemeral, the fugitive, the contingent, the half of art whose other half is the eternal and the immutable.

  2. #142

    Default Re: The Comme des Garçons "Universe"



    CdG Underwear



    CdG Play



    CdG Speedo



    CdG Fred Perry



    Les Demoiselles d'Avignon Pablo Picasso



    Just so to show some of the things that are being refered to and
    maybe it can help to get a bit of perspective on matters here [79] ...



    talking about matter, one thing is ideas, thoughts, etc. another thing is how these are expressed, preserved or manifested in matter. Maybe it's because I find a certain salvation in materialism, that i find the latter much more interesting. [51]

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  3. #143

    Default Re: The Comme des Garçons "Universe"



    [74]




    Nicely illustrated. In all fairness though, I think Seventh was referring to her collections, not her collaborations. You would not judge her strictly on the basis of her most commercial ventures, would you? That doesn't seem like something you would do, anyway....[51]




    I am a fan of the fragrances and the wallets....the speedos and printed tees, not so much. [79]

    ...I mean the ephemeral, the fugitive, the contingent, the half of art whose other half is the eternal and the immutable.

  4. #144

    Default Re: The Comme des Garçons "Universe"



    I know, or atleast I hope so, but I couldn't help myself! [79]
    It's quite perverted seeing Picasso up there ...



    [74]



    On a more serious note, I think I have only discussed her more commercial ventures,
    like the one she is embarking on now with H&M. I thought that was what we're discussing here [^o)] ... [83]






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  5. #145

    Default Re: The Comme des Garçons "Universe"

    [quote user="BECOMING-INTENSE"]


    Just so to show some of the things that are being refered to and
    maybe it can help to get a bit of perspective on matters here [79] ...




    talking about matter, one thing is ideas, thoughts, etc. another thing is how these are expressed, preserved or manifested in matter. Maybe it's because I find a certain salvation in materialism, that i find the latter much more interesting. [51]




    [/quote]




    Here is some more materialityfor you....and perhaps a bit of balance for the thread. All from collections of the last 5 years....[75]













    ...I mean the ephemeral, the fugitive, the contingent, the half of art whose other half is the eternal and the immutable.

  6. #146

    Default Re: The Comme des Garçons "Universe"

    Laika, I don't particularly want to give assistance to Faust's paranoiac stand for a very selective version of high culture, but I have to say that everything in the pictures you posted has been done much better by Rei, Yohji or Westwood, mostly more than ten years ago. Designers like Ann D (who I'm not a particular fan of) are at an advantage because they propose an argument about the development of their own personal vision, so it doesn't have to look new every time. Rei doesn't really have this alibi.

  7. #147

    Default Re: The Comme des Garçons "Universe"

    [quote user="BECOMING-INTENSE"]


    I know, or atleast I hope so, but I couldn't help myself! [79]
    It's quite perverted seeing Picasso up there ...




    [74]




    On a more serious note, I think I have only discussed her more commercial ventures,
    like the one she is embarking on now with H&M. I thought that was what we're discussing here [^o)] ... [83]









    [/quote]




    Well, I think there have been a number of issues under discussion. Personally, I have mostly been trying to defend her integrity as a designer, whichwas harshly--and I feel, unreasonably--attacked in the first post. It's important to have a sound basis for extreme assertions, I think. That's what I have beenasking for.




    As I said before, I share many of the reservations expressed here (including yours)about the collaboration, but I ultimately prefer to "keep the channels open"....i am always open to a surprise! [51]

    ...I mean the ephemeral, the fugitive, the contingent, the half of art whose other half is the eternal and the immutable.

  8. #148

    Default Re: The Comme des Garçons "Universe"

    [quote user="laika"][quote user="BECOMING-INTENSE"]


    I know, or atleast I hope so, but I couldn't help myself! [79]
    It's quite perverted seeing Picasso up there ...




    [74]




    On a more serious note, I think I have only discussed her more commercial ventures,
    like the one she is embarking on now with H&M. I thought that was what we're discussing here [^o)] ... [83]









    [/quote]




    Well, I think there have been a number of issues under discussion. Personally, I have mostly been trying to defend her integrity as a designer, whichwas harshly--and I feel, unreasonably--attacked in the first post. It's important to have a sound basis for extreme assertions, I think. That's what I have beenasking for.




    As I said before, I share many of the reservations expressed here (including yours)about the collaboration, but I ultimately prefer to "keep the channels open"....i am always open to a surprise! [51]



    [/quote]



    Maybe a reason why confusement can erupt ...



    A critical voice doesn't have to close down the channels, they are wide open here for any erupting intensities or sensations,
    from what ever direction they might occur. [64]



    Thank you for balancing "the depression" out! [51]

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  9. #149

    Default Re: The Comme des Garçons "Universe"



    [quote user="dontbecruel"]Laika, I don't particularly want to give assistance to Faust's paranoiac stand for a very selective version of high culture, but I have to say that everything in the pictures you posted has been done much better by Rei, Yohji or Westwood, mostly more than ten years ago. Designers like Ann D (who I'm not a particular fan of, by the way) are at an advantage because they propose an argument about the development of their own personal vision, so it doesn't have to look new every time. Rei doesn't really have this alibi.
    [/quote]




    dbc, I'm not claiming that Rei is as good as she was ten years ago, by any means. I don't think Yohji is as good as he was 10 years either, and certainly not Viv.(Still love them all, in one form or another, though.) All I'm saying is that she's not rubbish, not acharlatan and (talking of odd comparisons), nothing like Madonna. Even her weaker work attests to this. Faust makes it sound like the only choices are ""Rei is gold" and "Rei is crap," but I don't see it that way. I'm in the grey zone on this one.




    It's interestingwhat you say about Ann being at an advantage. I would add that she has never tried to propose and effect a revolutionin dress,the way that the Japanese did in the 80's and, to a lesser extent, Margiela in the 90's. She has always been a far quieter, more personalpresence and that has thus far served her well. I think she is great and I wear plenty of her clothes. I guess I am a bit of a brechtian at heart though, so Rei's method--of destroying in order to create--has always held alot ofappeal for me. I do realize the spirit behind the clothes is not the same as it was in the early days, and I regret that. But Rei cannot be entirely faulted for this....the climate of the world has changed enormously.

    ...I mean the ephemeral, the fugitive, the contingent, the half of art whose other half is the eternal and the immutable.

  10. #150

    Default Re: The Comme des Garçons "Universe"



    [quote user="BECOMING-INTENSE"]




    Maybe a reason why confusement can erupt ...




    A critical voice doesn't have to close down the channels, they are wide open here for any erupting intensities or sensations,
    from what ever direction they might occur.
    [64]




    Thank you for balancing "the depression" out! [51]




    [/quote]




    That's exactly what I've been wanting to say, but you said it more beautifully, as you often do. [64]




    Thank you for balancing out my depression over the way this has all unfolded! [51]

    ...I mean the ephemeral, the fugitive, the contingent, the half of art whose other half is the eternal and the immutable.

  11. #151

    Default Re: The Comme des Garçons "Universe"

    [quote user="Faust"]

    Laika didn't even address it, instead supporting Johnny's ridiculous claim that this collaboration is the same as outsourcing production of one's main line.



    [/quote]



    This just isn't true, Faust. I did address your post, repeatedly--have a look at my first three or four posts in this discussion.



    [quote user="Faust"]Ok, here is what I thought about when I said that
    this is pathetic. I am sick and tired of our culture being gripped by
    postmodern notions of wallowing in bad taste, of camp (with very few
    exceptions), of self-deprecating humor, of that irony-with-a-smirk, of
    rebellion-as-embracing-consumer culture, of that it's-so-bad-its-good,
    of mediocrity-as-the-norm, and Rei has been embodying all that in the
    past years. This collaboration only epitomizes that. "Look at me, I
    am doing the same as Madonna, but I am smart and artistic, so you KNOW
    I am doing it with the sense or irony, wink-wink."
    Don't make me puke,
    Rei. Oh, too late... Rei is the new Vivienne Westwood. You heard it
    here first.



    [/quote]



    Perhaps I ought to have spoken more generally, instead of critiquing your use of vocabulary. [:$] I certainly do not dispute, by any means, that Rei or this collaboration are deserving of criticism. But I don't think her body of work over the past few years can be reduced to a series of ironic, self-deprecating, wink-wink gestures. I really feel that all of the collections I referenced in the images above are better than that, more than that. Some of them were extremely beautiful, even if not ground-breaking. I certainly don't think they were "garbage," by any standards; and knowing your taste as I do, I find it hard to imagine that you believe this. I'd be happy to discuss this in more detail if you disagree.



    Insofar as I understand your criticism of the collaboration, you seem to be saying that it's just yet another instance of insincere, ironic posturing. I don't buy this, because I don't think that's what Rei is all about. Even if she has produced work that is guilty of this (believe me, no one hates the Rolling Stones more than I do [79]), that work does not constitute all--or even the majority--of her collections. The collabs are another story. Although I personally find them lame because they are so blatantly commercial, and not because I perceive them as post-modern.



    Anyway, I have tried to be brief and simple, so I apologize for anything that appears unclear. I respect your point of view a great deal and I have no wish to argue with you--I'm really just trying to understand you. Sometimes your vitriol provokes me into being not so cool-headed, but that's really just a heat-of-the-moment reaction....nothing to take too seriously. [51]



    ...I mean the ephemeral, the fugitive, the contingent, the half of art whose other half is the eternal and the immutable.

  12. #152
    kitsch killer Faust's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Comme des Garçons "Universe"



    Well, I certainly didn't mean for the shit storm to happen. [86]. Ok, I'll try to sketch out the few things that has led me to the whole post-modern thing. One is Camp - I'll try to be as clear as possible on this - the way I see it, Rei started referencing pop culture very recently, but with a vengeance. This sudden shift raised my brows, because that's not the Rei I know. Now, obviously, it's Ok to change, but because (unlike someone like Gaultier, for whom Camp is the essence of his work) it was such a sudden move, it raised my brows. And she wasn't doing Camp the way Gauliter does (sticking the gay sailor into the face of the French bourgeoisie), but in a very (to me) bland way. Maybe it's because she is too late to the game, because Camp no longer has anything rebellious or even interesting about it, I don't know. And yet, and yet, everything she's been doing got nothing but praise, so I became to feel a bit of the Emperor's New Clothes moment. I am very allergic to hype, as you know. And what were people praising? Her sense of irony. Her "bad taste is good," her "humor", her "subversion" of pop-culture. Well, again - too fucking late, none of this is neither subversive, nor important, not even interesting at this point. And what resulted was this (I know I'm about to post the worst, but I am illustrating a point):



    Mens:



    FW07 - referencing three artists and doing the whole dream childhood thing. not so campy as an idea, i guess, but still pretty campy in execution.





    SS06 - Golden Boy, enough said.





    FW06 - The whole rockabilly thing (at least she played Tom Waits)





    SS06 - Rolling Stones. 'Nuff said.







    SS05 - Pink Panther



    Womens



    FW08 - Amy Winehouse (and the quote, "there is value in bad taste" - hello and welcome to 1964)





    SS08 - Rag dolls





    FW07 - MIckey Mouse





    I'll leave the flag collection out, I guess - I think I've made my point on her style of the last few years. Coupled with this, there has been a surge in pretty vapid collaborations, rapid retail expansion, several perfumes a year (sometimes a dozen perfumes a year if we count all the flavors of different series), and now underwear, and now H&M - which is not even on the same level as the speedo/perry collab. This will be produced, distributed, and sold by H&M. All of this has pretty much resulted in what I said. But as far as her postmodern values - which, yes, i strongly dislike - my reaction was more about her collections, the comments on her collections (which, if others did, would probably result in some serious brow-raising), and this wallowing in dubious collaborations. And I do think these collaborations and collections for Rei have Warholian overtones (if Warhol can do Monroe, why can't she do Rolling Stones, if he promotes the idea that nothing is too low, why can't she collaborate with H&M), given the above.



    And Joffe speaking next to Louis Vuitton and Prada reps at a global luxury conference on the business value of collaborations in terms of strategic expansion and branding, just made me pissed off even more.



    Ok, I wrote a handful. I hope I clarified my views. [72]

    Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months - Oscar Wilde

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  13. #153

    Default Re: The Comme des Garçons "Universe"



    I love this :)




    Both sides present their arguments and the discussion doesn't get taken personally [Y]




    Faust, I like the photographic breakdown of the seasons that Rei has produced... I've actually never seen them like this before (CdG has been on the periphery for me admittedly) and it's quite brow raising in this context!

    www.AlbertHuangMD.com - Digital Portfolio Of Projects & Designs

    Merz (5/22/09):"i'm a firm believer that the ultimate prevailing logic in design is 'does shit look sick as fuck' "

  14. #154

    Default Re: The Comme des Garçons "Universe"

    Faust makes a compelling point. Personally I was a little unhappy with the Speedo collaboration and now with H&M it just seems... well, it seems like cashing out to me.
    Suede is too Gucci.

  15. #155
    kitsch killer Faust's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Comme des Garçons "Universe"

    See, the thing is, the breaks, I don't think she is doing it for cashing out (or in [75]). I think she is doing it as a Warholian type of a gesture. Obviously, I may be completely wrong.
    Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months - Oscar Wilde

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  16. #156

    Default Re: The Comme des Garçons "Universe"



    Yeah i can see your point there. And as you said, that whole perspective is so dated and worn out at this point it would be hard to respect any designer resorting to it.





    edit: Just to clarify, i don't necessarily agree that that's what Rei is doing here.

    Suede is too Gucci.

  17. #157

    Default Re: The Comme des Garçons "Universe"

    [quote user="gerry"]

    [quote user="BECOMING-INTENSE"]Another thing I find interesting, which maybe has already been noted, is that H&M is launching a grand store in Tokyo, japan and they are choosing Rei Kawakubo to collaborate with!
    [/quote]



    I hadn't thought about that. Considering that CDG is supposedly much more widespread in Japan, that's definitely an amazing marketing tactic on H&M's part.



    [/quote]



    Well, as far as high profile Japanese designers go, Comme is the one that makes the most sense for them to go to. I really think in some ways Comme is one of the most commercial institutions of Japanese fashion. Yohji for H&M wouldn't make sense...although he's already kinda doing that with Y-3. Even Watanabe is too niche and distinct for a mass market collaboration to work, let alone the darker labels like Undercover and Number Nine.

    The pop culture references in Comme's main line worked with the Rolling Stones collection because of its tongue in cheekness as well as relevance, but many of the recent collections were failed experiments because they were either too tired (the golden boy season with its heavy use of metallics and glitter, after this trend had been going on in fashion for a while) or trying (F/W 07's take on the eccentric dandy wasn't done as well as Junya's foray into this genre; Rei's work here just came off as awkward and uninspiring). I think the current season is unwearable after having taken a look at it closely for the first time yesterday, but as a conceptual exercise it succeeds where Rei often hasn't in recent memory.

  18. #158

    Default Re: The Comme des Garçons "Universe"



    Faust, thanks very much for taking the time to do that. I know it must have taken some effort but it definitely clarifies your point of view a lot... I still see things differently, but I can appreciate where you are coming from.



    [quote user="the breaks"]



    And as you said, that whole perspective is so dated and worn out at this point it would be hard to respect any designer resorting to it.





    edit: Just to clarify, i don't necessarily agree that that's what Rei is doing here.



    [/quote]



    I think this is where it gets complicated for me also. I mean, it's one thing to say that Rei has gotten lazy with her menswear, frequently falling back on graphics and various cultural icons for inspiration. But to say that she is indulging in the "low" or in "bad taste" for the sake of irony requires a leap. One would have to believe that she is lying when she says she's interested in the raw energy of rock n' roll (Lips collection); or when she says that she wants to pay homage to a group of men who have inspired her (London collection). Perhaps this is not Rei indulging in bad taste, but Rei indulging in her personal taste? Maybe the clothes are simply meant as playful alternatives to the general somberness of menswear, and not as grand warholian gestures? Faust, I know you and dbc both believe she is insincere about her motives, but I don't see how one could really prove that without being in her head. What I remember about most of these shows is that the clothes in the stores were really quite excellent--fabrics, construction, execution, everything. And I ultimately prefer to judge concept and execution from the garments, rather than from the runway shows.



    With the women's collections--I just have a completely different interpretation altogether. We've been over a lot of that in the S/S 08 and F/W 08-09 threads though, so I won't rehash here.



    (Unless you want me to.) [75][51]



    ...I mean the ephemeral, the fugitive, the contingent, the half of art whose other half is the eternal and the immutable.

  19. #159

    Default Re: The Comme des Garçons "Universe"



    I don't feel there is anything particularly insincere about Rei's work, her stuff in recent years seems to exist on a plane of its own and if I remember what I read in an interview with her, she doesn't pay attention to what else goes on in the fashion world so I think she is just churning these collections out almost the way a writer might sit down and produce books through stream of consciousness. I don't even think there's any motive to any of it...it's just there



    But I do think CdG as a corporation has become quite Warholian in the way it's operating...I dunno if Adrian has a big effect on that. My dad made the comment earlier tonight that he felt once Rei hooked up with Adrian the whole brand's gone down the shitter.


  20. #160
    kitsch killer Faust's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Comme des Garçons "Universe"



    No, rehash by all means. Actually, if you can also explain in the Rick Owens thread why you see him as campy, I would like that as well. [51]



    Of course, I can't prove anything, I've actually just said that up top. However, this is my interpretation, and I just wanted to show that I did not concoct it out of thin air.[B]



    EDIT: Also, I am not sure I would call her motives insincere - maybe she really does think all that, who knows.

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