PARIS, France — Sustainability is fashion’s latest mantra, and the origin of another bunch of marketing clichés. Leave it to the Japanese to offer a highly imaginative, emotional and ultimately poetic take on the subject. It came from the designer Kei Ninomiya, the mastermind behind the Comme des Garçons label Noir and, on purely creative terms, the heir apparent to Rei Kawakubo.
This was Noir’s most accomplished and captivating show since the label hit Paris a few years ago. Held in the dark of a cavernous space in the underbelly of Pont Alexandre III, it was both apocalyptic and ultimately relieving. The parade of looks opened with total white, with dresses that resembled snowy formations or ice crystals, which got stained with black as it all progressed, until it was full black and military green, and more shiny black and dresses looking like cages. As the music got louder and more disturbing, the sense of angst reached a climax, only to be swiped away by the final, ethereal passage of white techno nymph dresses worn under transparent plastic cages. The metaphor, if there was one, was this: from beauty to chaos and destruction to rebirth.
Ninomya seems to have taken over from Kawakubo the task of creating ‘post-fashion’ that has nothing to do with selling dresses. His work does not ask to be judged in commercial terms. As an inventor, he is a punk version — minus the colors — of Italian master of architectural dressing Roberto Capucci. He explores repetition as a constructive tool and has the rare ability to get poetry out of geometry. It was magic.
An Armani-esque feeling of purification pervaded a very good Haider Ackermann show that, finally, was light on the brocades. The first, completely greige block was actually very Armani, in an Ackermann way of course. Even when working in restraint, subtraction or moderation, the Belgian designer manages to imbue the proceedings with a sense of slouch and a boho nonchalance that are all his own. Mixing men and womenswear, the show touched cornerstones of precise suiting and very feminine — sexy, dare we say — dressing, offering a solid line-up of Ackermann-ism, in bold solid colors. Brocade crept into the end, lightly, as a beautiful conclusion to a mature outing.